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The Power Of Color and Color Harmonies In Composition

Color Harmonies đóng vai trò cực kì quan trọng trong quá trình thiết lập concept cũng như lên ý tởng về màu sắc cho hình ảnh. Color Harmonies được thể hiện trên bang Color Wheel qua 6 định luật tương phản màu sắc được áp dung rất rộng rãi trong lĩnh vực thiết kế cũng như nhiếp ảnh. Đây là kiến thức cực kì quan trọng dành cho các photographer muốn hướng đến lĩnh vực thời trang. Bài viết sau đây sẽ giải thích cặn kẽ về những điều quan trọng trong Color Harmonies cũng như là cách vận dung trong thực tế.



Keep in mind: This method is only used for changing the hue – not the saturation or brightness of colors.

Different colors have very different effects on people (as discovered by advertisers everywhere). The images  surrounding us serve a very specific purpose (at least per the the successful advertising agencies): They should arouse an emotion.

This is best achieved through color harmonies, the interaction between colors.


The theory behind Color Harmonies is quite simple: You look for a color harmony, then everything else will take care of itself (assuming you know how to work it, which you shall). Here are a few different models for harmonies.

This means that in your photo, you should strive for balance and you achieve this balance by complying with a harmony. So when you tone an image, the weights, saturations and relative sizes of colors should be similar to a harmonized palette.

An easy example for color harmonies: Why does Hulk wear a purple pants ? ( Because character designer follow the the Complementary, Green and Purple lie opposite in the Color Wheel ) ( For those who don’t know color wheel, )

Further more, the most important thing in Color Harmonies is choosing the Key Color. So, what is the Key Color ? Very simple, in Portrait Photography the Skin color is they Key Color. In Product Photography the color of Subject will be the Key Color, and so on. You just need to think like this, the color of the main subject will be the Key Color.


Everything in the picture follows the same toning. (here: red)


Two complementary shades can be found in the picture equally or with weighting 75% – 25%. (here: red and green) (KEY COLOR : RED )


In this model, the complementary color is split at the same angle. (here was green in cyan and a yellowish green split). The weighting is 50% – 25% – 25%. ( KEY COLOR : RED )


Two complementary colors couples that can be moved up or down. The weighting is here 40% – 20% – 20% – 20% ( KEY COLOR : RED )


Three very similar colors, in the weights of 50% – 25% – 25%. The two “spin colors” can be rotated up to 90 °, but remain symmetrical to the dominant color. ( KEY COLOR : RED )


Here we have a “flare” that is set, complementary to the main color. Weighting here is about 40% – 20% – 20% – 20% ( KEY COLOR : RED )


What determines the weight of each color? There are three factors, and if we add on one of them we need to compensate with one of the others (or both). Just don’t change the hue, as hue does not affect weight:

  • The size of the area
  • The saturation
  • The brightness

In a large area, colors must either be made light or desaturated to obtain the same optical weight. You can think about the example of the bright red poppy in the green grass. Here are some examples to show you how weights can be determined:

50% – 50% Both colors are equally bright

The green area is bigger, so we tone it down to keep both colors the same weight

If the green area is even bigger, then either brightness should be increased or saturation decreased further to maintain balance

two areas of equal size, but the red side was made a little darker, we desaturated the green in the same proportion.

Red and green balanced

Green is overweighted by the positioning of the red circle

The Image, or rather the distribution of the elements in the image, has a significant influence on the weight of each color

Reality Example for Color Harmonies, in the picture below I used Analogous. Changing the sky color to make it look more emotional than normal.

Images by : Duc Phuong











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