Thursday, February 23, 2012

Understanding the Color Wheel : Guest Post by Sarah Dawn Designs

I am super excited to have Sarah as a guest blogger today! She is a very talented designer and she is going to teach us all about understanding the color wheel so that we can pick amazing color schemes when planning a photo shoot!

First let me introduce myself.  My name is Sarah of Sarah Dawn Designs.  I graduated with my degree in Interior Design and have a love for color, fashion, and all things design.  Ashley has asked that I write about how we can use the color wheel when selecting "outfits" for family photos.  You must know that there are several variations of the color wheel out there and that they will have a different number of colors on their wheel.  We'll color the wheel above, "The Prang Theory."

Let's start with the basics:

The Prang theory is made up of primary, secondary, and tertiary hues.

Primary Hues: Red, Yellow, Blue
Secondary Hues: Orange, Green, Violet/Purple
Tertiary Hues: Red-Orange, Yellow-Orange, Yellow-Green, Blue-Green, Blue-Violet, Red-Violet

 Red, Red-Orange, Orange

When selecting your color scheme for family photos you may want to go with the most basic; The Analogous Scheme.  Like shown above it is suggested that you use 3-6 colors that are next to each other on the color wheel.

 Perhaps you like the look of contrast?  This wheel shows you how to find a color's direct compliment.  It is made up of two colors directly across from one another.  Want to know which color to contrast with your blues?  Look across and their you will find orange, it's direct compliment.  You know how most redheads look great in green?  Well there's a reason for that.

Next we have the split compliment.  You take the one color (red).  Find it's direct compliment (green).  Then look on either side of that compliment.  Thus for the wheel above the split compliment is made up of red, yellow-green, blue-green.

Violet, Yellow-Orange, Yellow-Green, 

 Blue-Green, Red, Orange

Now we aren't stuck only using the colors on the wheels above.  We can use different values of the same hue.  Both color strips are made up of a split compliment scheme but have different values, meaning lightness or darkness.

When you think you have your assembles figured out make sure and put them under the light in which the photo will be taken.  Color will change according to the light.

I think overall the biggest hurdle is learning not to fear color and trying new things.  After all there is always next year's photo.  There is so much to color, I could go on for blog post after blog post (oh wait I do that) but with the basics in hand, putting together a color scheme for family photos should go much easier.  If not, just ask someone to get a second opinion.  Usually your eyes will tell you when something is off (unless you're color blind) but that's where another set of eyes comes into play.

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