Lesson 5: Organizing color: Color & Color Theory

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    I tried to use complementary colors, orange and blue in my picture.[attachment=0:1ihak2l3]IMG_0679-1.JPG[/attachment:1ihak2l3]

    Duncan Rawlinson

    Beautiful work on this assignment.

    Again, this assignment was a technical assignment that was meant to allow you to showcase your understanding of both color control and theory. We wanted you to work with a simplified color palette while at the same time carrying forward the rules of composition discussed in previous lessons.

    You’ve done a great job of that, as your image not only has a strong, vibrant color palette of yellows and blues, but it also abides by the rule of thirds and ha a strong sense of depth and texture. It sounds funny to talk about the design of a plate of fish and chips but this design concept can be carried forward to more complicated and emotionally rich environment. When you’re starting out as a photographer it’s important to learn the “mathematics” of the deign.

    These thing are often technical but they have creative elements to them as well. So while audience’s may simply emotionally react to your image’s composition, the fact is that they are drawn towards the framing, depth, texture, color simplicity and so on. In the end, these are technical decisions with creative consequences.

    Generally speaking, most of the creativity in photography will come through your visual story telling abilities. Once the technical elements come to you naturally and you can start to quickly identify strong, naturally occurring compositions, you’ll begin to experiment with “mood” and “story”.

    However, what you’ve done with this photograph is great. It shows that you have an eye for composing images that have a strong technical foundation.

    – Your color palette is a mix of blues and yellows.

    – You have a strong sense of depth with the fish in the foreground and the plate and fries in the background.

    – You’ve balanced your colors in a way that the composition is primarily “warm” with a small “cool” highlight (i.e. the blue of the plate).

    – The lemon acts as a “stopper” giving the audience something to look at while they are not exploring the rest of the image.

    – Your fries and fish act as sort of a “leading line” drawing your audience’s eyes into the composition.

    Once again, great work on this assignment!


    Thank you so much for your comments. Just one question:

    >you’ll begin to experiment with “mood” and “story”.

    What do you mean by “story”? How can I express “story” in my pictures?



    Duncan Rawlinson

    “story” is something that will come in time. For now, focus on the technical elements to the craft. It’s better to start out as a strong technical photographer and embed “story” within strong compositions, rather than starting out with your focus on story, but not knowing how to add production value to the image which would help your audience relate.

    Photography, like film, is a visual medium of story telling. Similarly, photography, like film, can also be void of story and simply consist of a series of “pretty” photographic images. However, what I think will keep you interested in the craft will be be attach an element of commentary to your images. Since you can’t use movement or sound, you need to communicate with emotion and mood.

    Over time you will likely become interested in embedding a sort of visual commentary in your photographs. This may manifest itself in different ways. You might be interested in different issues ranging from social, political, economic, family, city, experience, teaching, deforestation, poverty, wealth, desperation etc etc. The list goes on.

    Before you tackle that, it’s best to focus on technique first, story second.

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