How to Use Complementary Colors for Better Photography

You’ve probably heard of complementary colors. It’s a concept that’s really easy to understand, but can be quite difficult to implement in photography.

But when you do it right, you’ll see the results in your photographs.

In this article, I’m going to show you how to use the concept of complementary colors in photography.

What are complementary colors?

complementary colors photography

The basic colors of the rainbow are red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet. When they are combined in various ways they create a large variety of different colors. For example, adding yellow to red, purple or green makes them brighter. Adding blue to yellow or red makes them more intense.

Photographers use the term complementary colors when creating an image that is pleasing to the eye. It’s often said that the color wheel is divided into three types of complementary colors: opposite, triadic and tertiary colors.

Complementary colors are found together on a spectrum. They work together to create a balanced, harmonious and pleasing whole.

Why are they important in photography?

complementary colors photography

Complementary colors appear naturally in the world around us. They can be found in nature. The earth’s crust is covered with these colors which appear in bright sunlight, reflecting off water and vegetation. Some of the brightest and most vibrant colors in nature are made up of complementary colors. For example, when red and blue are combined they make yellow and green. The green of leaves, grass and plants is made up of blue and yellow. So, too, are the greens in trees, shrubs and flowers. When you are using complementary colors in your photographs you are not simply using them to enhance the beauty of nature. You are also showing us that the earth has been blessed by God. It’s a reminder of His creation and our place in it.

How to use complementary colors

There are two main ways to work with complementary colors. You can mix them in the correct proportions for each other or, alternatively, you can choose one of each color to be dominant. In photography we are trying to balance out any unwanted or dark areas on the picture. When there is a lot of shadow, the colors will appear dull and lack vibrancy. So, when using complementary colors try to make them more vibrant and brighter by using different combinations of colors.

Mixing complementary colors in photography

complementary colors photography

There are four basic types of color mixing in photography:

1. Equal mix – When all of the colors are mixed equally together, which means they all receive the same amount of light. The colors will appear flat and dull.

2. Equal split – This is similar to equal mix except that one color is given twice as much exposure as the other colors. In this instance, the dark color will receive twice as much light as the bright color. This can be achieved by taking a longer exposure or by shooting with a higher ISO setting.

3. Opposite Mix – In this case only two colors are combined. The two colors have opposite colors in them. For example, red and green make yellow, blue and orange make purple.

4. Triadic Mix – This is a more complex version of equal split. It is three colors which are combined. It includes a primary color (red, yellow, blue) and one of the secondary colors (green, orange or purple).

Choose dominant complementary colors in photography

There are three basic ways to use complementary colors in photography:

1. Mixing all four types together

2. Using one type of color for a dominant color

3. Choosing one type of color as a dominant color

When choosing dominant complementary colors, it’s important that the main color is balanced with the other three types of color. The colors should be selected based on their value, hue, and saturation. A key point is that they should be in the same direction.

For example, when using the secondary color, purple, try not to use a color with a similar hue, such as green. Instead, choose a color which is opposite to purple, such as orange. This will make purple stand out more effectively against the orange.

Choosing complementary colors

Complementary colors can appear anywhere in nature. They are found in nature as part of the earth’s crust. The rainbow colors are made up of them. In nature, complementary colors are used by all living things. The most famous example of this is the peacock. His feathers are made up of red and blue in a particular proportion.

How to use complementary colors in your pictures

When you are creating a photo using complementary colors it’s best to use a white background or a plain surface so that the colors appear bright and clear. When you have a plain background, you won’t need to adjust your camera settings. However, when using complementary colors on a dark background the camera will have to work harder to expose all of the colors correctly.

You can achieve this by adjusting your exposure time. Try to shoot a longer exposure time and also increase the ISO setting. If you want a more natural looking image, try combining complementary colors with neutral colors, such as grey.

When you are taking pictures, try not to be too aware of your subject. Choose something which is interesting and is a good representation of yourself.

For example, if you are photographing nature, make sure you choose something which is representative of that particular scene. When shooting the moon, use a wide angle lens and shoot a long exposure. This will make the moon appear larger and brighter than it would have been in normal light.

What’s the best camera for complementing colors?

If you’re looking to take photos of nature, try using a camera with a large sensor

There are more ways than one to choose a color palette for your photographs. In this post we’ll take a look at some of the different choices and how to select complementary colors. We’ll also look at how to use these colors in an image, so you can be confident that the colors work together effectively.

Color psychology is a fascinating subject that has been researched by scientists and psychologists for many years. Although there are no absolute rules on which colors go with which colors, it is interesting to discover how colors affect people, their moods and feelings.

To illustrate the theory behind color, think about the rainbow. The spectrum of colors starts with red, followed by orange, yellow, green, blue and violet. Each color has its own properties. Violet is cool, blue is sharp and red is warm. Red can make you feel energetic and optimistic, while blue makes you feel calm. Yellow can make you feel happy and optimistic and green is the color associated with health and balance.

As a photographer, you will need to pay attention to your subject and how it appears when shot. This will help you decide on the color palette for your photograph. There are three main types of color in an image: hue, lightness or value, and saturation. Hue refers to the color itself, the quality of the color, its intensity and color temperature. Lightness refers to how much of the picture is colored in comparison to the other areas, which can be dark, medium or light. Value is the difference between lightness and darkness. Saturation is the purity of the color and refers to the vibrancy or richness of the color.

Complementary colors are pairs of colors that are opposite each other in the color wheel. The complementary colors are orange and violet, yellow and blue, red and green and so on. These colors make a pleasing image because they create a harmonious whole.

How do you use complementary colors?

For a successful color scheme, think about the way a room is designed. A room with a warm and bright color palette will make you feel happy, while a room with cool and subdued colors will make you feel more relaxed. Complementary colors can help create harmony in your photograph too. In an image with complementary colors, each color in the color wheel is complemented by the other. Each color has a different lightness or value and a different vibrancy or saturation. This means that each color will affect the appearance of the other color, making the whole more harmonious.

When you have a number of similar colors, such as yellows or greens, they tend to look flat and dull. If you want to create a more interesting image, then use complementary colors. These pairs of colors create a contrast between them and are easier on the eye. This also means that they are less likely to look washed out and will stand out from each other. You will find that the two colors are not equally vibrant, with one being brighter than the other. The brighter color is called the dominant color and the less vibrant is the complementary color.

There are many ways to choose your color palette. You can start by looking at the subject itself and seeing what colors are present in it. Then you can choose a few colors that seem to work together well. Next, think about how your subject would appear if it was shot in the sun or in a window. What colors are in this scene? You may find that there are fewer colors, and that they are less vibrant. Try to choose colors that will look good in both light and dark situations.

In general, you should use four to six complementary colors to create a harmonious, balanced image. These complementary colors are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, purple and pink. Although you could use any of these colors, you should be aware that the colors that you have chosen should not clash with each other. In other words, they should be in different parts of the color wheel. A color wheel helps to choose the complementary colors.

Remember that colors are only as interesting as what surrounds them. So choose your colors carefully, keeping the color palette in mind when you think about what you want to include in your photograph.


In conclusion, I recommend that you use complementary colors in your photography. You can achieve a more natural look that will appeal to your viewers.

Complementary colors are two colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel. They will give a strong contrast to your subject and will make it more interesting to your viewer.

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