Monday, 12 May 2014

Composition Tips for Architectural Photographers - Balancing Colors in an Image

We humans perceive an image as visually satisfying when the tension created by each of the three primary colors (red, blue and green) are perfectly counterbalanced by the other two. A quick look at the article on balance would be helpful here to understand that even a small patch of color strategically placed could counterbalance a vast area filled with opposing colors.

Composition Tips for Architectural Photographers Balancing Colors in an Image
Photo by: blinking idiot

The principles are very much applicable in architectural photography and in this article we will discuss how it applies when shooting exteriors and interiors.

Balancing Colors When Photographing Exteriors of Buildings

One color we always have in our frame while photographing exteriors of buildings is blue. Agreed that deep blue skies make interesting architectural photographs but not on its own. The picture works when the vast expanse of blue is counterbalanced by the greens in the foliage of the trees or the grass of the lawn and the red’s in the buildings doors, or roof tiles or even a car that is parked in front of the building.

While shooting exteriors be always aware of the color balance in your frame. If you are aware of it then you can easily correct any errors in your composition. Cars, flowers, potted plants, peoples clothing, letter boxes etc are elements that we could use to easily insert patches of specific colors in our frames. When inserting elements into your picture, always remember that animate objects (people walking by, car in motion etc) caught in motion adds more interest and drama to the frame than inanimate objects.

Take a look at the picture given below, it has all the three primary colors perfectly balanced and so the picture appears very pleasing to our eyes. Now try hiding the reds, or the greens with your finger and see the difference.

Composition Tips for Architectural Photographers
Photo by: José Miguel

Balancing Colors When Photographing Interiors of Buildings

Balance of colors is much more easily achieved in interiors than exteriors.  Since styling is part of the photographic workflow, a little care could go a long way in ensuring you have a perfectly balanced interior to shoot. Flowers, potted plants, pillows, a piece or rug, art work, etc could all be used as props that also serve to balance colors.

Find inspiration in specific elements present in the room and design accordingly using these elements as starting points. You can pull a wall color and make it your central source from which all your accent colors are chosen. Thus it will serve as an anchor that helps tie all the surrounding decor together. This will make your interiors more dynamic and ensure that the colors you are using perfectly complement each other.

Another trick that is quite popular is to use color as a framing technique. Using color as a border to a certain feature in your room is a great way to draw attention to it. If you have a window with a beautiful view, you could choose ornate drapes in a bold color draw the eye of the viewer to the scene outside. For a more asymmetrical design try grouping several framed paintings or pictures on one wall and place a similar colored couch across the room.

The most important thing to remember when using color to balance a room is to make sure that you are truly balancing the room. Once you pick our accent color, make sure you use the same color somewhere else in the space; similar colored pillows on the couch across from the accent wall or a chair the same hue as your curtains is how you will achieve balance and pull your room together.

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