Teresa Pilcher Photography

Colour draws our Eye

“It’s an awful truth that suffering can deepen us, give a greater lustre to our colours, a richer resonance to our words.” ― Anne Rice

This is a very simple idea.. Colour when used effectively can draw the viewer directly to a subject.  It can add to the story or be used to create a mood. So, when shooting in colour why does it seem so hard to use and to find a balance? Well when colours are over saturated or not well-balanced it can make the viewer feel unsettled and not wish to spend time looking at an image. Saturation is the intensity or purity of the colour. Value is brightness or darkness of the colour. Many photographers increase saturation when processing sunrises or sunsets in effort to get people to notice their work. However, it can have the opposite effect. Images with high saturation gives our eye nowhere to rest. This can be used as an effect, but when overdone, they can appear unreal or fake. We have a finely tuned sense of reality, what looks real to us. I often increase vibrancy and reduce saturation in post processing.

The red hat draws my eye, as well as the orange mannequins in the window. I have desaturated the blues and greens to create an emphasis on the red, orange and yellows.

I enjoy the muted colours of this image, there is a subtle contrast between the clothing and the background.

Red definitely draws our eye here, there are other more muted colours of blue and green that compliment the main or dominant colours.

So as a rule of thumb, use colour to tell your story.  Don’t overdue saturation and desaturate to assist the stronger colours to be more powerful. Use values of high contrast to draw the viewer’s eye. I don’t over analyse this when I am out at street but instead think about it in post processing. T

Any thoughts?

Teresa Pilcher

Teresa Pilcher Photography A Blog on Street Photography

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