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Composition Digital Field Guide by Alan Hess

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Chapter 6. Color

When you understand how color works in an image, you can use it to draw the viewer's eye in and focus their attention on specific elements. Colors often evoke meaning to people, and you can bring this significance out in your images by picking the right color or color combinations.

This chapter will help you to understand how color makes a photo look cool or warm, and which color combinations can make people feel great about the image. You will also learn when you should use color and what to look for when composing your image, including the use of complementary and clashing colors.

Color

These hammocks were for sale but when photographed hanging on top of each other, they become a mix of lines and colors. Taken at ISO 200, f/4, and 1/60 second.

What Color Means

Painters and artists have always been using colors to evoke feelings in the viewer and to enhance the subject of their work; photographers, on the other hand, have been limited because photography is usually about capturing the world in a realistic way.

Early in my photography development, I concentrated on accurately recording the world as I saw it through the viewfinder; I didn't spend much time worrying about the colors and how they affected the feel of the photograph until I realized that some images just worked better and had a better feel to them than others. That is because certain colors have meanings that can ...

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