The Element of Color in Macro Photography

Color plays a major part in close-up and macro photography and how viewers see an image. It can draw people in to certain areas of an image, intrigue people based on their color preferences, and even create various moods.

Your eyes are naturally drawn to areas with contrasting colors (such as green and purple, red and cyan, and yellow and blue). Use this knowledge to your advantage when composing images, or when seeking subjects to photograph. Maximize the visual contrast of a purple flower by choosing a camera angle that positions it in front of the green leaves rather than the blue sky.

If you want to create an image with a more subdued message, then perhaps placing the purple flower in front of the blue sky is more appropriate than in front of the green leaves. Colors that exist closely on the color spectrum work together to provide a mellower, less dramatic visual impact.

By understanding the feelings associated with colors, and how they work together visually, you can more easily control how people feel when viewing your images. Seek out scenes that are made of interesting color combinations, or make the most out of every scene by knowing which colors to include in your frame and which to crop out.

Feeling blue, and other color associations
Color Common association
Blue Coolness, comfort, relaxation, calm, depression
Red Love, energy, vitality, anger, hunger, sex
Orange Warmth, stimulation, hunger, optimism
Yellow Optimism, self-confidence, reason, clarity, energy, fear
Green Nature, stress relief, balance, comfort, laziness, sickness
Purple Imagination, intuition, royalty, compassion
White Peace, cleanliness, purity, freedom, coldness, separation
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