Color Composition Is Very Important in Photography

How you use colors in photography is very important. Colors are an essential part of your composition and can either make or break your photo.

In this video, CG artist Andrew Price explains colors for beginners. Photography and CG artistry is closely related and there is a lot we as photographers can learn from this field. Some experienced people might benefit from this too. Among inexperienced photographers, there is a tendency to go gung-ho with the colors, myself included. This often leads to an unbalanced photo, which just confuses and overstimulates the viewer. This is the exact same many inexperienced CG artists deal with.

Colors can be used to lead the viewer’s eyes and draw attention to certain parts of the photo or it can express and influence the viewer’s mood. Price also explains how and what colors work great together. He does this by using examples from both modern 3D animation and older paintings and analyzing them with the color wheel. Essentially a class on color theory, which I have found useful to watch several times.

Check out the video above and let me hear if you learned anything? Maybe you can even add some of your own experience. Let us share some knowledge.

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19 Comments

Kai Hornung's picture

Color theory is something especially beginners do not care enough about. It sounds more like school and not really sexy to get into this subject but is essential for your work as a visual artist. So thank you for bringing it up.

Mads Peter Iversen's picture

Thanks a lot, Kai. I also think it is something many beginners simply don't know about. I remember it from myself. When I started out I didn't give it a second thought how my colors were organized.

Jon Kellett's picture

Studying classic paintings (old or newish) is also a very good way to learn about light and shadows, as well as colour.

I didn't want to look at paintings when I started photography... A friend suggested that I give it a go, now it's some of the best advice I can give. Look at paintings and learn about colour theory!

Excellent!!

Great stuff!

Mads Peter Iversen's picture

Thank you David :)

Very nice and educational article! Mads, how much of color composition do you take into account while shooting vs postprocessing?

Mads Peter Iversen's picture

While shooting I rarely think colors that's something I do in the editing phase :)

Ernst de Groot's picture

Brilliant! Very interesting indeed!

Rob VanderStelt's picture

Great stuff! This is essential knowledge to know how to get the photos you want.

Michael Coen's picture

Splendid and informative. I really appreciate the time this instructor took to create a high-quality, concise program on color theory. Years ago when I was in school for graphic design we went into color theory at one point in one of my introductory classes, but didn't really get any further than complimentary colors. This has been super instructive for me and I'm looking forward to applying it. Thanks for posting this. :)

Mads Peter Iversen's picture

You're most welcome and I felt the same first time I saw this. He's really great :)

Adam Henderson's picture

Definitely going to bookmark this video. Lots of great information, and inspiration.

Mads Peter Iversen's picture

I'm happy it helped out!

Pedro Quintela's picture

Ohhh, what a great video! It helped me to recall some ideas and to learn new ones!
Big thank you for being so informative.

Mads Peter Iversen's picture

I'm happy it helped out :)