Photography Course: Color Psychology

Color psychology is a field of study that examines the impact of color on human behavior and emotions. It is an important aspect of photography that can be used to capture powerful images that evoke a range of emotions. By understanding the effects of color on the viewer, photographers can use color to create powerful and meaningful images.

Color plays an important role in how we experience and perceive the world. Different colors evoke different emotions and feelings in us, and as such, they can be used to create powerful images.

The three primary colors are red, blue, and yellow. These colors are the foundation of all other colors and are the most powerful and emotionally-charged colors. Red is associated with passion, energy, and power, while blue is associated with peace, serenity, and tranquility. Yellow is associated with optimism, joy, and warmth.

The secondary colors, which are derived from the primary colors, are green, purple, and orange. These colors are less intense but still evoke strong emotions. Green is associated with growth, nature, and balance, while purple is associated with creativity, mystery, and spirituality. Orange is associated with joy, enthusiasm, and energy.

In addition to the primary and secondary colors, there are tertiary colors, which are derived from the secondary colors. Tertiary colors are less intense than the primary and secondary colors, but they still evoke strong emotions.

Using Color Psychology in Photography

The key to using color psychology in photography is to understand the impact of color on the viewer. By understanding the effects of color, photographers can use color to create powerful and meaningful images.

For example, if a photographer wants to create a peaceful and tranquil image, they might use blue as the dominant color. Or, if they want to create an energetic and passionate image, they might use red as the dominant color.

In addition to using color to evoke emotions, photographers can also use color to create contrast and draw attention to certain elements of the image. For example, a photographer might use red to draw attention to the subject of the image, or they might use green to create a sense of balance.

Color psychology is an important aspect of photography that can be used to create powerful and meaningful images. By understanding the effects of color on the viewer, photographers can use color to evoke a range of emotions and draw attention to certain elements of the image. By utilizing the principles of color psychology, photographers can create beautiful and powerful images.

What follows are some examples of the power color in photography. Each color is explain from the perspective of psychology and how colors impact people.

Black is the color of authority and power. It is popular in fashion because it makes people appear thinner. It is also stylish and timeless. Black also implies submission. Priests wear black to signify submission to God. Some fashion experts say a woman wearing black implies submission to men. Black outfits can also be overpowering, or make the wearer seem aloof or evil. Villains, such as Dracula, often wear black.

Brides wear white to symbolize innocence and purity. White reflects light and is considered a summer color. White is popular in decorating and in fashion because it is light, neutral, and goes with everything. However, white shows dirt and is therefore more difficult to keep clean than other colors. Doctors and nurses wear white to imply sterility.

The most emotionally intense color, red stimulates a faster heartbeat and breathing. It is also the color of love. Red clothing gets noticed and makes the wearer appear heavier. Since it is an extreme color, red clothing might not help people in negotiations or confrontations. Red cars are popular targets for thieves. In decorating, red is usually used as an accent. Decorators say that red furniture should be perfect since it will attract attention.

The most romantic color, pink, is more tranquilizing. Sports teams sometimes paint the locker rooms used by opposing teams bright pink so their opponents will lose energy.

The color of the sky and the ocean, blue is one of the most popular colors. It causes the opposite reaction as red. Peaceful, tranquil blue causes the body to produce calming chemicals, so it is often used in bedrooms. Blue can also be cold and depressing. Fashion consultants recommend wearing blue to job interviews because it symbolizes loyalty. People are more productive in blue rooms. Studies show weightlifters are able to handle heavier weights in blue gyms.

Currently the most popular decorating color, green symbolizes nature. It is the easiest color on the eye and can improve vision. It is a calming, refreshing color. People waiting to appear on TV sit in "green rooms" to relax. Hospitals often use green because it relaxes patients. Brides in the Middle Ages wore green to symbolize fertility. Dark green is masculine, conservative, and implies wealth. However, seamstresses often refuse to use green thread on the eve of a fashion show for fear it will bring bad luck.

Cheerful sunny yellow is an attention getter. While it is considered an optimistic color, people lose their tempers more often in yellow rooms, and babies will cry more. It is the most difficult color for the eye to take in, so it can be overpowering if overused. Yellow enhances concentration, hence its use for legal pads. It also speeds metabolism.

The color of royalty, purple connotes luxury, wealth, and sophistication. It is also feminine and romantic. However, because it is rare in nature, purple can appear artificial.

Solid, reliable brown is the color of earth and is abundant in nature. Light brown implies genuineness while dark brown is similar to wood or leather. Brown can also be sad and wistful. Men are more apt to say brown is one of their favourite colors.

(Creative Commons photos by pagedooley, jingleslenobel, a6u571n, brunociampi, visualpanic, josefstuefer, and visualpanic)

See also:
Color & Perspective
Color Simplicity
Color Tinting & Shading In Photography
Analogous Colors
Complementary Colors
Color Wheel
Color Balance and Highlight
Monochromatic Photography

Other photography articles of interest:
Photography composition
Photography composition: Line
Photography composition: Shape