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Tips for Perfect Color Contrast

By Michelle Ecker on July 24, 2017

Tips for Perfect Color Contrast

Are your shots looking a little mundane lately? If you want to add an extra eye-catching element, consider finding a way to highlight stark color contrast. Including bold, conspicuous color in any composition is probably the simplest trick for making it pop. Getting started, here are some of the simplest tips for properly executing this fun look:

Look for opposites

One common method photographers use for compelling color contrast shots is to highlight some element of polarization beyond the contrasted colors themselves. For example, finding an element of emotional divergence is a great option. Picture a super dreary, raining, bustling morning commuter scene in midtown Manhattan. Most subjects in the photo will likely look annoyed, rushed, damp and irritable. The colors in the shot might look darker- think blues and greys. If you place a subject in your shot, have him or her flash a bold, unexpected smile while wearing an all-yellow outfit and holding a bright yellow umbrella, not only will the color contrast capture the attention of your viewers, but the emotional opposition will add something extra special as well.

Don’t stick with black and white

Although black and white photography is an incredibly common scheme for color contrasted shots, if you’re looking to add a special element of interest, consider going bolder than that. If you’re interested in experimenting with action shots for example, adjust your shutter speed and practice capturing shots while dropping some brightly-colored fruit like raspberries or strawberries into a tall glass of translucent water for a fun spin on this technique.

Confused about color choice?

If you’re not sure which colors to match up in order to capture a cool contrast, there are a few basic pairings that tend to work well for beginners. Getting started, try mixing yellow with purple, red with green, or orange with blue.