Colors capture our imagination and speak to us in many different ways. Colors in a particular scene are often believed to pass a characteristic feeling or set a mood. Did you know that the human brain is able to distinguish over two hundred shades of white. It is also able to see the same color irrespective of the light source. Therefore, it would not be an understatement to say that color is essential to our perception.”Colors of Faith” happens to be one of my signature images that has a decent publication history. It is also one of the most colorful photographs you will come across. The question: What makes Colors of Faith so popular as a photograph, led me to study and understand more about colors, its usage and impact in photography.
As a photographer, you either click pictures that you think your audience would love and buy or you create what you love without worrying about acceptability. I happen to be of the latter type. But i must admit that it is no fun clicking and keeping pictures only to myself. Like most of the artists, I too, constantly strive to reach out to more and more people. I love to showcase my work and get audience feedback on the same. I confess that an appreciation/recognition or constructive critique along the way helps a lot. It not only keeps the motivation going but also helps me grow as an artist. Understanding various perspectives that different people bring to the table about the same photograph only makes you a better artist.
Social media is an inevitable part of any business these days. As an artist I see it as a great tool to build an audience. Hence, i go with the tide and often share my work on selective social media platforms. In the process, i also observe the pattern of responses different kind of photos (shared by others as well) get on the social media. It didn’t take me long to understand the type of images that garner more attention and popularity.
The Psychology of Color
Golden skies featuring sunsets, sunrises or anything shot in golden hour happen to be one of the most popular among the bunch. Rightly so, most of the experienced photographers across the globe advise to plan and shoot during the golden hour and avoid daylight. I totally agree with the advice and i would suggest the same to all budding photographers. But, i could not help myself from not asking the important question “Why Not”.
I started off by reading a bit about impact of colors on human eyes and brains. You’d be surprised by the emotional response a color can evoke, and how colors, especially the color of the background, can emphasize and enhance that emotional response. For example why is it that a set of warm colors scores over the blue skies and/or white daylight?. Sounds a bit difficult to believe right?. Let us look at the following two photographs and pick the one that manages to catch and hold onto our gaze.
Most of us would pick Colors of Faith (on the left) with a mix of warm colors. But why? If the psychology of colors is to be believed
- Yellow: is the most visible color and is the first color the human eye notices. Yellow is the color nearest to “light”. It leaves a warm and satisfying impression, lively and stimulating.
- Orange: is said to have the cheerful effect of yellow. It is intensified in its closeness to the color red.
- Red: is the most powerful of colors. Red gives the impression of seriousness and dignity, represents heat, fire and rage. It is known to escalate the body’s metabolism.
I guess that explains to a reasonable extent, why orange/reddish skies of sunrise/sunset are comparatively more popular. But i decided not to go with the tide in this context and decided to explore the color blue.
Blue is Beautiful
- Blue: is the second most powerful color. It obviously represents coolness, mist and shadows. It is one of the most politically correct colors there is with no negative connotations of it anywhere on the globe. It represents trust, dependability, and strength. No wonder, most of the big brands blue as color of their choice for their brand logos.
In terms of photography, too much of clear blue skies in a photograph are often interpreted as negative space by experts. As far my views are concerned, it is a debatable topic. I believe that blue skies, with or without the dramatic clouds, have a beauty of their own. If used with an impactful subject in the foreground, even a clear blue sky can lend weight/support to the frame. On the other hand, let us consider the commercial dynamics as well. A clear blue sky at times, provides advertising/marketing teams enough space to put their own content in the photograph thereby utilizing it as a great material for creating banners or flyers.
It is a matter of personal taste or choice when it comes to colors. To me all colors are equally beautiful. So, I am not objecting or challenging the conventional themes. My intent behind writing this blog is to present a case for the unconventional. You may or may not have seen more of the warm colors than the blue in the images across the web. With my gallery titled “Blue is the warmest color” (inspired by the popular french film of the same name), I hope you would enjoy the color blue equally.
Slide through my Gallery below and share your feedback on the topic and/or my work in comment section below.