Impact and Power of Color

fashionfashionFashion Photography by Munish Khanna, new delhi, india

Some colors leap out of a photograph more than others. The most powerful of all the hues is undoubtedly red. Just a small splash of red is enough to draw the attention and using this property in your photograph can work very well to your advantage. A single tone of red in the background or anywhere in a photograph, can enliven the whole picture, be it landscape or a fashion photograph 

Other colors that are capable of commanding the attention in this way include yellows and pinks. Often, subjects work well in photographs simply because of these vivid hues; use an identical object in a more reserved color, and the image loses all of its impact.

You can always look out for such bright colors or intentionally add these colors in pre planned photographic situations. In portraiture, You may ask the subject to wear a bright colour if he or she can carry it well and also goes with the personality. Not everyone can carry a bright colour well, though it does draw the eye.

With a still life, you can use a red prop rather than
a brown one. This trick can add a strong focal point to your picture—but you have to make sure that it is not so strong that it detracts from more important subjects within the scene.

Just as some colors, such as reds and yellows, demand attention, others tend to recede into the distance. Blues and greens, for instance, often appear to blend into the background. Combining colors from these dominant and recessive groups can be a powerful way of adding more drama and depth to your pictures.

Choosing pairs of colors to create impact has to be done with care—there is always the danger that they will clash. The best contrast is usually achieved by combining complementary colors. Red and green is a potent pairing—as is blue and orange, or mauve and yellow.

Photographers can rarely be as picky about their palettes as painters—it is simply a matter of noticing when two colors appear to complement each other well. The blues of the sky or the sea are very useful, because they can provide a recessive, non-competing, and extensive backdrop against which to frame brightly colored subjects.

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More than any other design element,colours determine the emotional content of an image. One can establish the whole mood of an image by applying a color scheme: Reds and oranges are hot and exciting, ready to burn. Blues and greens are cool and refreshing, the deep runnings of a mountain stream or the freshness of a clear blue lake. Yellows are warming, from the warm glow of morning or evening sunlight to the romantic amber of candlelight.

You can also use colors to create specific effects. With careful framing and camera angle, you can draw attention to a relatively small but brightly colored subject against a more subdued background--an Indian woman in a colorful sari walking down a dusty path, for example. The danger inherent in color is that unless you are careful in composing your images, bright patches of color may divert the eye to minor parts of a scene. Suppose you are shooting a portrait but one of the persons in the crowd in the background although out of focus is wearing a red cap, which may overpower your subject just because it appears as a strong patch of colour.

Vibrant contrasts, particularly among bright primary colors (reds, yellows, and blues), are especially effective in creating dynamic designs. Such contrasts excite the eye, making it jump from one color to the next. In the shot  (see photograph), for example, the photographer has eliminated all extraneous information so the clash between colors is the predominant design element. Gentler combinations of pastels can create a lighthearted or romantic mood, while earthy tones offer a more natural or organic feel.Whatever the use of color, weather, lighting, and exposure all influence how colors photograph. Bright, sunny days are good when you want to zap your images with Day-Glo brilliance, while overcast days produce subtle, more saturated color combinations. Exposure, too, affects colors. With color slide film, especially, you can intensify colors by underexposing a full stop below the suggested meter reading. Conversely, you can subdue colors by overexposing by a half to a full stop

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The rear side of a truck caught my eye in Lisbon. A very simple shot yet quite effective due to the strong colour. Did not want to dilute the impact of the colour by adding the background. Coca cola again, shot at a vendor in Chandni chowk in Delhi. Interestingly a wooden plank has been fixed with a locked chain in front of the refrigerator glass so that nobody steals away the coke while the shop is closed.

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A strong color attracts the attention. Some times in a busy area one gets more than one strong colors. The Yellow stripes are good leading lines.The lady in the foreground is in red but there is a man walking towards the camera wearing red shorts and dilutes the attention on the lady. However since he is walking towards her and is along the strong yellow line, its all right. And on second thoughts the two dominant reds are kind of connecting.

Wait and take more shots. Even in this shot if you just hide the guy in the bright pink, the eye will be drwan more towards the lady in red.Beach, Barcelona in Spain.



The Guy in Red is setting up the Hornbill festival in Kohima, Nagaland

Labourers outside a factory in Allahabad

Deep blue twilight sky with the tungsten bulbs of the shop in the foreground forms a strong color. Avoid over saturating colors as they cease to look natural.