THE THEORY OF COLORIn color theory, there's a color wheel that illustrates and organizes color hues, showing relationships between colors. The wheel shows primary colors: red, yellow and blue. In between each of them are the secondary colors—the colors created when you mix two of the primary colors together: orange, purple and green.
Within this circle it becomes clear what colors traditionally complement each other, as they will appear opposite each other in the circle. For red, it's green, while blue is opposite to orange, and yellow has purple as its complementary color.
By having an understanding of complementing colors, you can deliberately search for these colors in your frame, making your image more dynamic. That's why blue skies seem to call for orange balloons floating in them. Green foliage looks dynamic with a pop of red, and a yellow hat looks stunning against a purple wall. Often, we're drawn to color intuitively. Complementary colors are pleasing to the eye. How they play together in your frame can make or break your image.
|Play with these elements to see what works for you and your artistic vision.
Balance: Does the frame feel balanced in the way color elements are arranged? Is one side of the image too heavy with color while the other side feels too light? Is there a running thread of a single color popping up within the frame to bring cohesion?
Symmetry: Arranging the colors in your shot symmetrically can be soothing. The eye is drawn to this kind of harmonious balance.
Asymmetry: On the contrary, placing colors in the frame in a more off-kiltered way can bring visual interest and an "unexpectedness."
Repetition: Just like with lines or shapes, the repetition of color within a frame can be visually attractive and can draw in the viewer.
Framing: Whether you use your color to frame your subject or you use something within the shot that frames your color, a frame within a frame can be a great visual technique.