Week 23 – Complementing Colors

The 23rd Challenge in my 52 Week Landscape Composition Photo Challenge is Complementing Colors. The goal was to get familiar with the Photography color wheel and shoot a scene with complementing colors.

What’s the Photography Color Wheel? Here’s one that I found online that is a good representation of the Photography Color Wheel. A traditional color wheel is composed of primary, secondary, and tertiary colors, and each color serves as the complement of the opposite color across the wheel.

Analogous Colors In Photography

Some examples of common color combinations that work as complementary colors include Orange/Blue, Yellow/Purple, and Red/Green. Nature is full of complementing colors. These are called complementing colors as they do just that; they seamlessly complement each other.

Here’s a good visual representation of ‘complementary’ colors that I found online. Lacie Lynnae

Since nature is full of complementary colors, looking for the right colors in our composition may help us broaden our range of shots. My goal with the 52 week Landscape Composition Photo challenge is to do just that. Instead of keep falling to the comp techniques that I am very comfortable aka Rule of Thirds or Leading Lines, I wanted to add more comp techniques to my tool belt. Understanding how to use colors effectively will be a great way to look for unique perspectives. Since complementary colors are easily found in nature, I don’t have to create it in post-processing.

The featured image in this post, in my mind, is a good example of complementing colors – blues & oranges. I shot this during Sunset at Alviso Marina. The predictions weren’t necessarily high that day but it turned out to be a spectacular Sunset. Since complementary colors occur in nature, you are naturally drawn to it. That’s exactly what happened here. The moment I saw oranges and blues, I started firing away. I went with long exposure to smooth out the water and make clouds wispy.

Here’s another example of complementary colors – Purple/Yellow. This was shot during Sunrise at Santa Teresa Park. A beautiful Sunrise where colors brilliantly complement each other.

One of the things I learned as part of my research on Photography Complementary colors is that 1) colors opposite to each other in the color wheel complement each other and 2) complementary colors create contrast in image and makes it more dynamic.

Complementary colors is definitely something I am going to consciously look for going forward.


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