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Colour and Design in Photography

One of the most interesting ways to make your photographs more interesting and dynamic is to focus on colour and design elements. These are everywhere, in the natural world and in the world – towns and cities – made by people. Looking for great colour and design will also help sharpen your eye for other interesting elements.

Focus on Colour in Photos

One of the first things the eye is drawn to is colour. When you are taking photos, try isolating little bits of it in larger, more muted landscapes or take close-ups that fill a picture with colour. Experiment with both and see what most pleases you.

Red is a colour that always draws a viewer’s interest and adds vibrancy to a photo, such as in the photo of a red mailbox on an old brick wall. White can be equally as interesting if well-framed. Each colour can add spark to your photos, depending on how it is used. For example, blue can be calming and green invigorating.

Line and Pattern

Look also for graphic elements such as lines and patterns to add interest to your photos. Vertical and horizontal lines add a sense of movement, which can grab and hold a viewer’s attention.

Patterns can create pleasing symmetry or asymmetry, depending upon the photographer’s intent. Look for windows and doors that create patterns.

Abstract patterns can also pop up when you least expect them. For example, I came upon a red brick wall that had been mended with different coloured bricks. The mending created a startling and pleasing abstract pattern and a great photo.

Unexpected Elements

Unexpected elements make great photos, too. A mural on the side of a building can draw the viewer, as can seemingly common elements – an old bell and light on a stand – that up close look like a robot. Watch for similar things when you are taking pictures.

Study Colour and Design

Get inspiration by reading graphic design magazines and their websites. Print Magazine, for example, has a terrific website with a variety of design inspirations. Check out fashion magazines, too. The big glossies such as Vogue are filled with graphic elements.

Also, study great advertising in magazines and online, as well as some of the many photography books out there. Seeing what the pros are doing can help you take better photos.

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