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Color in Photographs

Color in Photographs

The very first question that gets asked a lot when taking someone's portraits is "what do I wear?!"

It's very hard to tell someone what to wear a lot of the times because clients, new and old, often have an objective for their portraits, whether that be holiday family photos or just quick updates of the cousins that are in town for the weekend. 

So, before we begin, we would like to introduce you to the color wheel.



The color wheel above illustrates the importance of primary colors, secondary colors and tertiary colors. 

To put it simply, primary colors are often colors not mixed from other colors. Secondary colors are colors combined from two other colors. Tertiary colors are combinations of a primary color and a secondary color.

Got it? Nice!

Now, back to the age old questions...

What should you wear?

Well, it really depends on you and your family and what your intentions are. Color is the first thing I would consider when putting together a family portrait. Color is the ground work for me, personally, because lots of different shades and textures photograph differently.

A lot of the times people will see one thing at Old Navy and think

"Oh, my God, that'll be cute for her birthday!"

Then they come to us and quickly realize the cute little sweater from Old Navy does NOT match her brother's plaid shirt whatsoever.

So, below, I put together four categories that I swear by and quickly photographed a couple items lying around the house and used my usual, simple edits to illustrate what I mean. 

Here we go, yo!




monochromatic is the values of one color. Some define this as shades, tints, tones or hues. monochromatic is great for families with smaller children under the age of 5, as well as milestones like 3-6-9 months and especially newborns. monochromatic schemes exude togetherness and closeness. 




analogous are groups of colors (primarily three) that are next to each other on the color wheel that share a common color with one being the dominate. these colors usually consists of a primary, a secondary and a tertiary. analogous colors are great for families with older children to teens, keeping a very like-minded feel between family members yet still keeping individuality. 



complementary colors are opposing colors on the color wheel. they cancel each other out to create a bold, tense and divided feeling. complementary colors are great for maternity, graduates and any special occasions that indicate a big change and creating a bold statement for that new chapter in your life. 



triadic indicates colors on the color wheel that are equally spaced (primarily three). triadic colors are great for cousins, groups, larger families with the intention to create interest and personality yet still creating a larger unit. 

So there we have it!

Four categories of colors that I abide by, whether that be photographing a family of four, a graduate or a 1st birthday.

I hope you find this a little helpful for future sessions or even just in everyday wear!

With our first blog up, we hope you come back every week as we would like to post as often as possible. Let us know if there's anything you'd like to know from a photographer's perspective or if anything particularly tickles your pickle.

11 Ideas Under $40 for an Impromptu Photo Session

11 Ideas Under $40 for an Impromptu Photo Session