How to Use the Power of Color Properly in Landscape Photography

Color is one of the most powerful triggers in life, and in photography, it is no different. We are irresistibly drawn to warm colors, sunrises and sunsets, the golden haze of dawn in a fall woodland, or the luster of summer strawberries. 

In the latest of my YouTube videos, I explore the power of color in landscape photography and demonstrate ways in which we can create more engagement and viewer involvement by understanding how all of us are affected by color changes.

If warm colors are energizing, cooler tones calm us and give a feeling of serenity or mystery. If photography is indeed an emotional visual language, then understanding the implications of our use of color is as essential as learning grammar or punctuation in our spoken tongue.

If we take the image below as an example, we can see that the generally cool palette creates a very calming and serene image. All the elements in the frame — composition, aspect ratio, arrangement, and color palette — are all saying the same thing. Relax, chill, be calm.

In the second example, of quite a similar subject, we have introduced a very different color palette. The ice shoe (Cinderella's slipper!) is cool and austere, yet the overall impact is of a sunset. The combination of cool and warm colors allow for more energizing and engaging photography.

The video demonstrates more examples and introduces further processing tips to help improve our language of light.

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5 Comments

Barbara Livieri's picture

Just saw your article that went along with the video. You do know how to get at the heart of it. Thanks for enlightening us all! :)

Alister Benn's picture

Hey, thanks for the comment, I didn't realize anyone was reading this :-)

Barbara Livieri's picture

Haahaa, well, you mentioned the article in the video. When I get into something, I give it my all. I don't understand all the algorithms with websites, but I know that studies favor lots of likes, shares, comments, etc. I just want to help it along. You have great original content and I think more people need to read it. :) And if I can help with a little comment or something, I'm going to do it.

Alister Benn's picture

I totally appreciate this - I'll be talking this week regarding the Nature First as discussed.

Barbara Livieri's picture

Oh that's great! Thank you!