Sometimes you just want to capture the moment. Real life, completely unplanned, in all it’s messy glory, And that’s OK.

But other times you want to spend a little more planning your photos and getting a more styled look. And these are the times where you can use the colour wheel to help you style your sessions so that you get the look you want.

Colour plays a huge part in photography and can make a big difference to your images, so let’s dive in to some basic colour theory.

The Colour Wheel

Colour Wheel

The colour wheel shows us the colours in relation to one another. We can use these relationships to get the look we want and to help convey emotions.

Complimentary Colours

Complimentary colours sit opposite each other on the colour wheel. Even though they are very different, the look good together, they compliment each other.

Complimentary colours are a good option if you want a strong pop of colour against a different shade, because even though they are very different, they work well together.

When I took this image I thought the yellow would work well with the red leaves, but I didn’t like the look. It reminds me of a certain popular fast food restaurant. I decided to change the colours in Photoshop, and I used the colour wheel to decide what colour to use. Since green is opposite red on the colour wheel, I chose green to add a pop of colour.

Colour Wheel Photography

Analogous Colours

Unlike complimentary colours, which are about contrast analogous colours are similar and create harmony. Analogous colours sit next to each other on the colour wheel. Because they are similar, analogous colours schemes can sometimes lack depth, therefore it’s important to use a wide range of tones (light and dark colours) with analogous colour schemes.

Colour Wheel Photography

I bought this coat for my daughter because I knew the mustard yellow colour would work perfectly with autumn tones.

Colour and Tone

Tone relates to how light or dark a colour is, and tone also has a big effect on the look of am image.

In this image, most of the clothing is in soft, light tones. It works well with the beach setting and I gave it a soft edit to match the colours. There are a few darker colours but they are mostly hidden and don’t make up a large part of the image. if the children had been wearing mostly darker clothing it would have completely changed the look of the image.

Pastel Beach Photoshop KIds

A few years back I was headed to a beach session with some new clients, they told me they were waiting for me near the icecream van. I saw some people next to the icecream van in the distance and my heart sank. They were wearing black jeans and bight coloured tops, she was in yellow and he was in red. Luckily, when I got closer I realised they were just some folks buying icecream, and my clients were actually dressed perfectly for the session, in soft pastel shades that went well together. I would have still gotten some good images if they were in different clothes, but the colours they chose really make the images work.

Family Photoshoot Beach

Do you pay attention to colour when you are styling a photoshoot? If so share your images with us on Instagram using hashtag #mamacameraclub. If you need help choosing colours, let us know in the Facebook group and I’ll be happy to help