Analogous Colors

How to Use Analogous Colors in Photography

Thanks to Sir Isaac Newton, we can interpret the relations between colors using the color wheel. The color wheel is a circular representation of the visible spectrum, and it helps us choose colors to create contrast or, on the contrary, create a subtle palette. Analogous colors are sets of colors situated next to each other on the color wheel. Between analogous colors, there’s a low contrast, which makes them look harmonious and natural.

Analogous Colors

We’ve already talked about the meaning of colors in different cultures and the role of color in human evolution. Color influences the way the public will react to certain photo compositions. But the relations between colors are also valuable and rich in meaning and artistic expression. Because high color contrast has a strong impact and captures the public’s attention, it is frequently used to convey powerful messages and make an impression. Nevertheless, analogous colors are equally impactful but to a deeper and more subtle level. Here are some tips to start using analogous colors in your compositions.

Create a mesmerizing atmosphere

Because analogous colors are easy on the eye, you can use them on larger surfaces and aim for a soothing effect. This model is widely spread in nature, where large areas are filled with shades of green, blue, and yellow. Use low saturated colors and natural-looking shades that allow the viewer to contemplate the composition. This moody effect doesn’t give a strong first impression and usually doesn’t have a strong focal point. In return, it makes the viewer engage with the photo, watch it closely and for longer, and connect to a more personal level.

Analogous Colors

Photo by Peter Oslanec on Unsplash

Convey powerful feelings

When your photos make the audience feel something, you’ve reached your goal. You can be sure people will remember them and speak about them. A picture that conveys feelings is memorable. This is where analogous colors come in very handy. Using a palette with similar colors, you concentrate the entire energy of the composition into a single message. For example, if your photo speaks about love, using shades of red and pink emphasizes this message. If your photo speaks about the beauty and fragility of nature, using shades of green raises awareness. Make sure your compositions are well-balanced in terms of aesthetics and message. Furthermore, put your own feelings into your compositions because the audience can feel dishonesty and lack of engagement.

Photo by Goutham Krishna on Unsplash

Show the real face of the world

As we said before, nature is an expert in using analogous colors. All you have to do to deliver amazing photos is to take care you capture its true colors. The best example of natural analogous colors is sunset. The sky changes its colors gradually, from blue to gold, red, and violet. You don’t need filters and photo editors to produce those colors. Watch your exposure, use a tripod to avoid camera shake, and let nature do its magic. The same rule applies to autumn foliage, the colors of the ocean, storms, grain fields, and blossoming cherries. For best color accuracy, photograph in RAW and use manual focus as much as possible.

Analogous Colors

Although analogous colors aren’t as spectacular as contrasting colors, they’re very decorative. You can easily find them in magazines and ads. Atmospheric photo prints are frequently used to decorate offices, hotels, and homes. People resonate with these color palettes, which makes them emotional and unforgettable.

Cover Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

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