Photographers often talk about color balance and color temperature. In Visual Thinking, color is about the elements of color that we are looking at and seeing within the frame. And its about understanding how colors behave is critical to evoke atmosphere and mood.
I usually have limited control over color that exists on location. What the chosen event colors are; the floral arrangements, the linens, the bridesmaids dresses, the colored up-lights the coordinator has put in the reception, etc. What I can control is understanding how colors function in relationship to other colors – how they behave differently in different situations. This knowledge helps get the image I want.
- warm colors advance.
- cool colors recede.
- the same color can appear differently in different contexts
The color in this detail/still life by Katie Barnes plays viewer perception to tricks the eye into seeing the shape of the orange napkin float in the same plane as the bottle of jam - which is in on top of the napkin. This is a great example of warm colors advancing and dark colors receding.
This lovely example of a wedding couple portrait, also sent in by Katie Barnes, uses the complimentary color pairing of red and green. The opening, edged in white, of the red barn, frames the subjects. Green stretches across the bottom of the frame and comes up into the foliage on the right - balancing the asymmetrical placement of the barn itself. There is just a touch of orange/red in the leaves, bringing some variation into the upper right corner. We can also read this as the beginning of transition - the closing of summer, the start of fall. The start of a new chapter in life.
There is color behavior within individual frames, and then how to make color work with multiple images - like in an album spread. Erica Ferrone shares one of her album pages. She has worked to keep consistency from frame to frame, and page to page with the whites in the bridal gown, the skin tones and anchoring the lower left corner and upper right corner with green. Her choice of a soft pink to border the images warms up the page. Tangentially, I love how Erica placed the image on the right page - the lines of the bride's arm and the edge of her veil keep our eye from leaving the page.
Have you found ways to keep color consistency (like in bridesmaids’ dresses or bouquets) across the different color temperatures during the course of the day? Some weddings or events seem to be all about the color – and sometimes I find the color palette is secondary and I try to sell a totally black and white album. Which, to my chagrin, doesn't usually work. ;)
The Visual Thinker is Boston Wedding and Portrait Photographer Allana Taranto of Ars Magna Studio who dreams of ombre dyeing her kitchen curtains yellow, curtains she hasn't even sewed yet, but that's an entirely different color story.