Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Using Color to Create Strong Photo Compositions

Using Color to Create Strong Photo Compositions

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Using Color to Create Strong Photo Compositions

Posted: 18 Feb 2014 07:49 PM PST

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Color is one of the most obvious elements of composition. Everyone knows that intense colors make people take notice of your images. Ever wonder why there are so many sunset and flower shots? Color is the reason.

using color in photo compositions

“Serenity” captured by Johnson Zhang (Click Image to See More From Johnson Zhang)

Color has a couple of functions in photographs. First, color grabs the attention of the viewer. Perhaps, because this function of color is so palpable, many photographers miss the more sophisticated, and in some cases far more powerful, function of color: color sets the mood of an image. Since color is such an important compositional ingredient, the experienced photographer will want to use color to its fullest extend — incorporating both functions of color into images.

Grabbing the Viewer’s Attention

Utilizing color to grab attention is often rather straight forward. Generally, what is required is a saturated or intense color. This type of color tends to grab the viewer’s attention and focus it on the area of color. Furthermore, the color tends to keep the viewer’s attention for an extended period of time. When the viewer’s eyes do wander, the color tends to bring the attention back.

There are a couple of primary ways to use color to grab a viewer’s attention. The first way is to use very saturated, bold colors. An example of this approach would be a dramatic sunset. The second way of using color to grab a viewer’s attention is to use a mix of contrasting colors. An example of this approach would be an image of fall colors where there is a combination of red, orange, and yellow leaves.


Setting the mood through the use of color tends to be a more subtle application of color than when color is used to grab the attention. However, that does not mean that it is any less powerful.

Different colors elicit different moods. Since there are a huge number of colors, it is not possible to cover all of the colors and their impacts on viewers’ moods in an article such as this one. Instead, a few colors will be reviewed in an effort to convey how colors affect viewers’ feelings.

compositions with color in photography

“Doc” captured by jun dacumos (Click Image to See More From jun dacumos)


Blue tends to bring forth feelings of calm or cold depending on how the color is used. This is a reflection of how we perceive the color in nature: the deep calm ocean is blue, peaceful cloudless skies are blue, and large amounts of ice have a blue tint. Therefore, a photographer that wishes to create a feeling of calm in an image should include blue objects in the image such as a peaceful blue stream or a blue lake.


Green often communicates a feeling of lushness and freshness. Again, our feelings about this color are tied up with how we frequently experience that color in nature. We tend to associate green with spring and new growth. Green is frequently used in landscape photography. Green meadows, plants, and fields can be used to convey the mood of a flourishing scene.

Yellow, Orange, and Red

The last colors to be evaluated are the warm tones: yellow, orange, and red. These colors are associated with feelings of warmth and comfort (again the colors are tied to how we experience them in nature). Sunsets are a perfect example of how these warm colors create a comfortable feeling. Photographers that wish to take advantage of these colors can include, in their photographs, objects such as flowers, plants, food, and rocks that contain these colors.


So far, we have looked at using color to create mood in photographs by means of including objects, with the appropriate colors, in an image. However, there is another way to use color to create mood in an image – the use of light. Early morning and evening provide a photographer with colored light which can be used to powerful effect in images. Before sunrise and about twenty minutes after sunset, everything is bathed in a soft blue light. This light can be used to create a calm mood such as an early morning shot of a beach bathed in the cool, blue light.

sunset color in photography

“The Oasis” captured by fady (Click Image to See More From fady)

Just after sunrise and before sunset, the light is often very warm with red, orange, or yellow hues. This light can be used to create feelings of comfort such as a beautiful mountain peak bathed in a soft, warm, golden light.


When properly utilized, color can be one of the most effective methods of conveying mood in an image.

About the Author
Ron Bigelow ( has created an extensive resource of articles to help develop photography skills.

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5 Advantages of Using a Kit Lens (Video)

Posted: 18 Feb 2014 05:35 PM PST

Before you write off the cheap lens that came bundled with your DSLR, take a look at the following video clip. Kai takes the humorous approach to explaining why kit lenses are worth a shot for new camera owners. He also shows some surprising comparisons with more expensive L-series lenses:

5 Things a Kit Lens is Good For

  1. Their restricted focal lengths more closely resemble what the human eye sees, which makes composing images easier.
  2. It’s bland, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s still great for helping you develop an eye.
  3. The price to performance ratio is outstanding. Most kit lenses offer image stabilization and auto focus, which could be considered added bonuses.
  4. If it breaks, or you are bored with it, it is easy to let go since the investment you made into was minimal.
  5. Surprisingly, kit lenses like the Canon EF-S 18-55mm can outperform more expensive lenses like the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM lens at certain apertures.


While the kit lens does have its limitations, it often proves to be a valuable piece of gear to have in your bag. Especially when considering that the equipment doesn’t make the photographer.

Go to full article: 5 Advantages of Using a Kit Lens (Video)

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

Interesting Photo of the Day: Wizard Island in Crater Lake

Posted: 18 Feb 2014 04:11 PM PST

Spanning 21 square miles and reaching depths over 1,900 feet, Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States. Located inside a dormant volcano called Mount Mazama, Crater Lake resulted from rain and snowmelt accumulating inside the caldera formed after Mount Mazama’s massive eruption in approximately 5700 B.C.

Peeking out of the middle of Crater Lake is Wizard Island–an island aptly named for its resemblance to the hat of a sorcerer. This lake in the depths of the Cascade Mountains is arguably one of the most beautiful spots to capture incredible landscape photographs.

Oregon-based photographer Tyson Fisher captured this shot during a multi-day snowshoe trek around Crater Lake:

landscape photographs

Sunset over Wizard Island in Crater Lake (Via Imgur. Click to see larger size.)

“While cold winter winds were gusting from my vantage point, it must have been very calm down below, as I have never seen Crater Lake in such a placid state in the middle of winter.” – Tyson Fisher

Go to full article: Interesting Photo of the Day: Wizard Island in Crater Lake

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

Exploring Wild California with Timelapse Photography (Video)

Posted: 18 Feb 2014 04:05 PM PST

California has many incredible attractions; photographers are rarely caught with nothing to photograph. Take the following timelapse video, for example. Photographer Michael Shainblum, a California native, has spent a lifetime exploring the natural beauty of the western state and a year collecting all the footage you see in Into the Atmosphere:

As you may know, timelapse is a photography technique that is accomplished by compiling thousands of photographs together to make a moving picture. Into the Atmosphere is the product of 12,400 still images. If that sounds like a lot, take into consideration that Shainblum started with 75,000 images to choose from.


A lot of the pan movements you see throughout the timelapse are made using a Dynamic Perception Dolly which is motor-controlled and helps to automate the the task with a camera trigger. Shainblum also utilized a motion control robot made by eMotimo, to help insure smooth transitions and changes.


It’s not just the tedious hours spent going through, curating, and editing the final images. Michael Shainblum also adds:

“There is a common misconception about timelapse shooters that we quickly set up cameras and go sleep in the car for hours at a time, which is far from the truth. We are constantly hiking heavy equipment through dangerous areas and spending time camping in uncomfortable situations…”

For Further Training on Timelapse Photography:

There is a complete guide (146 pages) to shooting, processing and rendering time-lapses using a dslr camera. It can be found here: The Timelapse Photography Guide

Go to full article: Exploring Wild California with Timelapse Photography (Video)

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

New Stock Photography Collection Aims to Empower Women (Video)

Posted: 18 Feb 2014 02:12 PM PST

The stock photo giant Getty Images has teamed up with women’s leadership organization Lean In to create a collection of images depicting strong, empowered women. The collection contains over 2,500 images of women and girls of all ages and walks of life, at work and at play, who are confident, hardworking, and happy:

Lean In, an organization created by Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg after her book of the same title, encourages women to believe in themselves and their ability to move forward in their careers, while challenging the world at large to be more welcoming to female leadership. The goal behind the collection is to further this message by saturating the world with as many images of driven, confident women as possible. A portion of the proceeds from the collection will go to the creation of Getty Images grants for photographers, and to supporting the Lean In mission.


The Lean In collection strives to show women in strong roles.

getty images women

An image typical of the collection, depicting a fearless female rock climber.

The images that we see on television, in magazines, and in advertisements have an undeniable effect on how we see the world. Though we still have a long way to go before we achieve gender equality, the Lean In collection is a step in the right direction.

Go to full article: New Stock Photography Collection Aims to Empower Women (Video)

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

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