After viewing Steve Gooch’s photo of a young man wearing a red shirt while skateboarding past a green building, I thought about the use of color in photography. Color is often overlooked and can detract from a photo. The viewer’s eye is always drawn first to vibrant or bright colors in a scene. This can create confusion if the colors are not important part of the picture.
Juan Vilalobos, 12, rides a skateboard on south Walker in Oklahoma City, Tuesday July 2, 2013. Photo By Steve Gooch, The Oklahoman
But color can used as a compositional element in a photo. Vibrant contrasting colors can draw attention to one spot in a photo, like the young man in the red shirt.
Carl Eskew of Yukon auctions off letters from the old Yukon's Best Flour sign during a celebration marking the lighting of a new sign on the flour mill in Yukon, Okla., Friday, June 28, 2013.
Warm colors tend to advance while cooler colors retreat. By contrasting warm and cool colors the subject can be emphasized.
The Devon Tower is seen just after sunset in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, July 17, 2012. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Kizzie Ledbetter waits to perform in Swingin' and Singin' on the Deuce with Rhythmically Speaking at Belle Isle Library in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
The same goes for spots of vibrant color surrounded by muted color tones.
Odalie Wildes sits under an umbrella during the first night of Jazz in June in Norman, Okla., Thursday, June 23, 2011. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Since colors can evoke a feeling or an emotional response they can help set the mood of a scene.
People jog along the shore of Lake Hefner just after sunset in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Other times the complete lack of color can add to the photo.
Snow falls at Lake Hefner in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Feb., 12, 2013. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Click here for an interesting radio show on the topic of color. I highly recommend it.