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Color

by Bryan Terry and Steve Gooch Modified: July 6, 2013 at 3:50 pm •  Published: July 6, 2013

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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.

 

 

-Bryan Terry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


by Bryan Terry
Photographer
Bryan Terry is a native of Oklahoma and is a graduate of Yukon High School. He first picked up a camera while attending the University of Central Oklahoma. After working for the school newspaper, The Vista, he interned at The Oklahoman. He...
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by Steve Gooch
Photographer
Steve Gooch has been a photojournalist in Oklahoma City for more than 30 years. His coverage of news, features and sports assignments has taken him across the state and country. Growing up in Oklahoma City in the 1960s & 70s, everyone knew a...
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