If you love landscape, nature or wildlife photography, it is important that you understand the role of colour to improve your photography. Many photographers have no or little training in colour theory.
This can be a hindrance to the improvement of their skills because unless they understand the psychological as well as physiological basis of colour theory, it would be difficult to understand why some photographs could turn out as stunning as expected and why others do not.
There are three categories of primary colours:
- RGB Ц red, blue, green
- CMY Ц cyan, magenta, yellow
- YRB Ц yellow, red, blue
RGB colours are usually used in transmissive-light and electronic technologies such as television and film while CMY colours, including black, are popularly used in reflected light technologies. Painters who have been to art schools are familiar with the YRB.
YRB are called first-order colours because they are pure and are not a result of mixing other colours. In fact, YRB can be mixed with any colour of the spectrum. Yellow is the spectrumТs brightest colour which makes it ideal to be used for warning signs. Psychologically, yellow denotes happiness.
Red is for intensity, especially if you put it against dark backgrounds. Use as universal warning, red is hard to ignore. Blue defines Earth. It is a retiring colour and brings a feeling of passivity and restfulness.
Second order colours are created by mixing any colour with the primary colours.
Orange is formed by combining red and yellow colours. The orange colour has a wide range of tonalities. Green is a result of the mixing of blue and yellow. The same with orange, green has also a wide range shades or tonalities. It is a predominant colour of vegetation, there dominant in almost all landscape photographs.
Additionally, violet is a colour formed by combining red and blue. Nature does not give you much in this colour. Traditionally, violet is associated with royalty and brings a feeling of warmth and elegance.
The colour circle provides harmonizing colours. To find them, you just have to visualize an isosceles triangleТs three points that is situated in the center of the circle. By doing this, two of the three colours are apart by one colour zone, with the third colour at the opposite end of the triangle. Lastly, mixing harmonizing colours would give you gray which is the most neutral colour.