These Basic Color Theory Tricks Will Take Your Images to New Levels

It’s obvious that color is important in our work; Hand selecting that perfect blend can take our images from decent to legendary. And it's not just photographers that notice the color mishaps. Everyone is influenced by colors. Our eyes are always naturally observing and comparing them. Color is so impactful on the masses that they are meticulously chosen for ads that reach millions of faces a day, there's no reason why you shouldn't start using the same tactics in your work.

I used to devote all my energy into post-processing, but since I formed the habit of creating a visual organization for my shoots the whole creative process feels more effortless. Every so often I’ll take photos that I absolutely don‘t like as they pop up on my display. This usually happens when I haven't envisioned the color and mood before picking up my camera. Color theory isn't the first thing on our minds while physically taking photos, so having a color plan helps your shoot run more smoothly and sends you in with confidence about the final images before you even take them.

This video by Mango Street shows us how to use color theory to create color pallets prior to shooting and how it helps you get the most visually appealing and stimulating images for your viewers. They relieve the color theory intimidation for those of you like me who don't actively think about it by walking through a real photoshoot using color theory in action.

You can check out more of Mango Street's videos on their YouTube Channel. Their work can be seen on their website and each of their Instagram accounts: @danielinskeep and @rachelgulotta.

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11 Comments

Jason Pietroski's picture

Great article! I've been looking to try something like this in my work. I appreciate the recommend for Paletton.

Nice tutorial! Thank you!

Gabrielle Colton's picture

Anytime, hope it helps in your process!

Kaare Lytsen's picture

Nice too see a little focus on the topic that coloring has different influence on our perception of things. But this video is don't cover it very well. They just tell you that you can use colors to create different moods. It is not color theory in my world.

Benjamin Quarles's picture

There was definitely some basic color theory in there. Not much there for me but these basic concepts would be a huge help to someone who doesn't yet have a grasp of them.

Gabrielle Colton's picture

This is definitely a very basic fun video. I will have to search around for some more in-depth ones to share!

Anonymous's picture

Identifying weak information as weak information is always a good thing.

Lee G's picture

I like

Gabrielle Colton's picture

Glad you liked it!

Anonymous's picture

Adobe software included a complementary ("harmonious") color palette generation system years ago, it may still, I have not looked into it.

Gabrielle Colton's picture

Nice! I will have to check this out.