Category Archives: Part 3: Colour

Tutor’s report and reflections for assignment 3

Tutor Report Shaun Mullins 512659 TAOP asst 3

Again, I read up as much as I could on this subject and taking on board earlier comments have now started to include referencing my books in my blogs.  I have also invested in a screen calibration tool called a Spyder4 which re-calibrated my screen for colour reproduction on my computer to help me when editing my photos in Lightroom or Photoshop.  This I believe is my secret to successful colour reproduction when printing.

I take Mikes point about choosing a single theme and on reflection that would have been a very good idea.

Colour harmony through complementary colours.

Blue and orange-resized Color-Wheel-by-HomeWorkshop   I used this colour wheel which guided me in the decision to use the photo of the cat as the blue and orange appear to be opposite each other on the wheel. I think perhaps I needed an element that was a brighter orange to have worked better.

Red and green-resized  The rose and the green background are of a similar tone to each other and so this is why they work so well.

Violet and yellow-a   Yes, Mikes comments are fare, this image needed a bit more work to give it punch.

Orange and blue-a-resized  I was trying for something more imaginative and maybe I could have cropped in tighter and shifted to grey-tone to turn the hands a neutral grey and used Photoshop the bring back the colours in the ring and nails.

Colour harmony through similar colours

Apple red and orange-resized   A good example of keeping it simple.

Yellow and orange-2-resized   I saw this whilst walking my dog along the river and quickly photographed it on my phone.

Blue and green-resized  I wasn’t entirely happy with this picture but it was the last image I needed for my assignment and I was pressed for time; so had to use it. The idea was sound but my choice of clothing was poor as it wasn’t strong enough for the lighting I had.

Green yellow and blue-resizedI simply added the blue straw to try to make it more interesting by adding an odd one out but is still following the rule as blue is next to green but I should have put it between green straws instead of being attracted to the contrast which was not the object of this exercise. Perhaps it was just one straw too far.  This may have been a better image to have submitted.  Green and yellow-resized

Contrasting colours 

Sarah blue and red-resized  I think the was stuck under another print and was missed.

Red and yellow-resized   Worked better in print than on screen. I will keep this image for reference.

Red and Blue-2-resized  I was not too familiar with the setting for the camera on my phone at the time and it was one of those moments to quickly catch the image.

Orange and green-resized  I was pleased with this image.

Colour Accent

Blue and orange-resized  Again it works when I keep things simple.

Orange and green-resized-a  I was pushing this a bit but I thought it worked.

Violet and blue-resized  Yes, on reflection I agree I should have used more skittles and given more attention to their matching colours.

Green and violet-resized  I like taking portraits and using a colour accent added an interesting element.

I learned a lot from this section of the course, much more than I originally expected.

Exercise – Colour relationships – Part 2

Colour relationships-1 (1 of 1)

An interesting combination of colours used on this Mersey ferry to brighten up it’s appearance for the tourists.  I like the use of the blue and yellow and pink and blue.

Colour cast flash-4 (1 of 1)

This image of my wife using a speedlight in a soft-box and tungsten white balance has created a nice blue against the orange.


I like this colour combination in this image using speedlights in soft-boxes and coloured gels to create the colours.

Yellow and orange-2-resized

I liked this colour combination of rubbish that I found floating in the river.  The large yellow bag balances against the orange foam brick like object whilst the colours contrast each other.


Assignment Three – Colour

Image taken from Bing:

Assignment brief – COLOUR.

In this assignment I had to create sixteen images demonstrating a command of colour in photography by being able to find and use different colours in deliberate relationships.  This was divided in to four categories:

  • Colour harmony through complementary colours. – These are colours that sit opposite each other on the colour wheel.
  • Colour harmony through similar colours. – These are colours that sit next to each other on the colour wheel.
  • Colour contrast through contrasting colours. – These are colours that sit one third of the way around the colour wheel from another colour.
  • Colour accent. – Images dominated by one colour with a small area with another colour using any one of the above relationships.

Colour Harmony Through Complementary Colours.

Blue and orange-resized

50mm f1.8. ISO 100, 1/30sec, f/2.2.  TTL-Speedlite used. Blue office chair with my cat and enticed using cat treats.  Idea originated from my cat  jumping on to my lap when I am working and his colour worked against my chair.  Lightroom used for colour, contrast , levels,and sharpness.

Red and green-resized
This idea was inspired from my last project.  105mm f/2.8.  ISO 160, 1/6 sec. f/7.1.  Camera mounted on tripod, light reflectors used, no flash.  Lightroom for colour , levels, contrast and sharpness.

Violet and yellow-a
This image was inspired by a suggested project in Practical Photography Magazine, published last year and was fun to do on a rainy day.  105mm f2.8.  ISO 100, 1/30 sec. f/36.  Camera mounted on tripod and operated by cable release. Material used: yellow felt and violet tissue paper.  Subject was lit by hand held LED torch.  Adjustments in Lightroom for colour and sharpness and Photoshop was used for spot healing to remove bubbles in the water and a fold across the tissue paper.

Orange and blue-a-resized
I have seen similar images of hands with painted nails and liked the idea for this theme. 105mm f/2.8.  ISO 100, 1/125 sec. f/11.  Speedlite used off camera by remote controlled from command setting in camera.  Lightroom used for contrast, levels, colour and sharpness.

Colour Harmony Through Similar Colours.

Apple red and orange-resized
This image was inspired by my lunch the red in the apple and the orange of handle from the peeling knife and complementing orangy colour from my kitchen table-top worked well together.  105mm f/2.8.  ISO 100, 1/3 sec. f/11.  Camera mounted on tripod operated by cable release.  Off camera speedlite bounced off ceiling.  Lightroom used for contrast, colour and sharpness.

Yellow and orange-2-resized
This was some rubbish floating in the river, I discovered whilst walking my dog I moved the polystyrene orange block closer to the bag and photographed them using the camera on my phone.  Samsung 4mm f/2.6. ISO 50, 1/125 sec. f/. 2.6, exposure bias -2 steps. Just a tiny amount of Cropping using Lightroom.

Blue and green-resized
This was inspired by a project in Digital Photo magazine last year.  Two “Selfies” blended together in Photoshop.  Both images – 50mm f/1.8.  ISO 250, 1/50 sec. f/11.  Speedlite off camera used for outside subject to add some additional light.  Both images adjusted in Lightroom for colour and contrast then edited in Photoshop in order to merge both images in to one.

Green yellow and blue-resized
Drinking straws using diagonals as a theme, I added a blue straw to be an odd one out and it sits on the other side of the green on the colour wheel; so I thought it still keeps to the rules. 105mm f/2.8.  ISO 100, 3 sec. f/36.  Straws lay over a box using plasticine to hold them in place.  Camera mounted on tripod, speedlite off camera bounced of ceiling and reflector used.  Lightroom used for contrast, levels, colour and sharpness.

Colour Contrast Through Contrasting Colours.
Sarah blue and red-resized
This portrait was simply inspired by my wife sitting at our kitchen table with a vase of roses between us.  50mm f/1.8.  ISO 100, 1/60 sec. f/2.5, in built speedlite used for catch light in eyes.  Lightroom used for colour, contrast, clarity and sharpness.

Red and yellow-resized
Roses and Daffodils simply inspired from flowers around the house.  105mm f/2.8.  ISO 160, 1/125 sec. f/4.  Camera hand held, reflector of stand used.  Adjustments made in Lightroom for colour, contrast and sharpening.

Red and Blue-2-resized
This image was taken using my mobile phone.  I had trouble trying to zoom and as a result I had to crop the image; so loosing quality for the final print.  Samsung 4mm f/2.76.  ISO 50, 1/35, f/2.6, exposure bias 0 step.  Cropped using Lightroom.

Orange and green-resized
This enigmatic still life was inspires by my wife’s jewellery, an Arabic henna vase and a green scarf.  105mm f/2.8.  ISO 250, 1/125, f/9.  Off camera Speedlite, camera hand held.  Adjustments made to colour, levels, contrast and sharpness in Lightroom.

Colour Accent.
Blue and orange-resized

The swan with his orange beak on the river which was reflecting a cold blue sky inspired this image.  55 – 300mm f/4.5-5.6.  300mm, ISO 640, 1/500, f/9.  Adjustments made in Lightroom, cropped, levels, colour, contrast and sharpness.

Orange and green-resized-a

The green eyes of my cat were the natural inspiration for this image.  105mm f/2.8.  ISO 400, 1/50 sec. f/3.2.  Speedlight used, camera hand held.  Colour, contrast, levels and sharpness adjusted in Lightroom.

Violet and blue-resized

My original idea was to create an image photographing these coloured sweets through a bowl of oil and water; but changed my mind and kept it simple.  105mm f/2.8.  ISO 160, 1/13 sec. f/4.  Off camera speedlite bounced off ceiling.

Green and violet-resized

I used the violet wool broach on my wife’s jumper that makes a good colour accent for this portrait.  50mm f/1.8.  ISO 100, 1/125 sec. f/11 off camera speedlite, camera hand held. Lightroom used to adjust, levels, clarity, colour, contrast and sharpness.

Exercise – Colours into tones in black-and-white

In this exercise, I created a still life using sweets, modelling clay and drinking straws laid on my grey card that I use for manually setting the white balance. The object of this exercise is to use colour filters when converting a colour image to black and white to improve the tone and contrast of the black and white picture. This can be achieved with digital photography by using the colour filter options in Photoshop or Lightroom by adding or subtracting the colour values on the control sliders found in the greyscales functions, available to both of these programs. These features simulates in a more controllable way the adding of a coloured filter to the end of a lens on a camera when photographing with black and white film.

I began this exercise by using my grey card to set the white balance for my camera, I then I set up my still-life with the camera set on a tripod positioned over the subject. I used my 105mm lens, manually focused and set to aperture priority, ISO 100 and I used a cable remote to trip the camera.

First image remains as shot in colour.
Second altered in Photoshop with the greyscale function with no filter adjustments.
Third, fourth, fifth and sixth images all adjusted in Photoshop with one filter raised to simulate a coloured filter over the lens but with the other primary colour sliders lowered to adjust tone and contrast.

Apart from sharpening this image has been untouched and simply converted to JPEG.

Photoshop – Filters – Camera Raw filter – HSL/Greyscale – tick box “Convert to Greyscale”.
This image has been simply converted to the grey scale in Photoshop without any adjustments to the colour filter sliders which were set to the following default settings:
RED – +7, Orange – +2, Yellow – 0, Greens – -13, Aquas – -22 Blues – +5, Purples – +5,
Magentas – +7.

Red filter.
Filter sliders:
RED – +100, Orange – -27, Yellow – -36, Greens – -41, Aquas – -22 Blues – -69, Purples – +5,
Magentas – +7.

Yellow filter.
Adding_yellow _filter_and_reducing_green_blue_red-resized
Filter sliders:
RED – -42, Orange – -8, Yellow – +11, Greens – -19, Aquas – -22 Blues – -23, Purples – +5,
Magentas – +7.

Adding_green _filter_and_reducing_yellow_blue_red-resized
Filter sliders:
RED – -49, Orange – -21, Yellow – -33, Greens – +78, Aquas – -22 Blues – -13, Purples – +5,
Magentas – +7.

Adding_blue _filter_and_reducing_yellow_green_red-resized
Filter sliders:
RED – -12, Orange – -29, Yellow – -33, Greens – -77, Aquas – -22 Blues – +100, Purples – +5,
Magentas – +7.

By playing with these colour filters in the grey scale I have been able to alter the appearance of all the items on the grey background. However, the grey background itself, has remained constant in all the images.

Exercise – Colour Relationships – Part 1

In this exercise I have one image for each of the combination of primary and secondary colours that sit opposite to each other on the colour wheel and will complement each other and also provide a balanced image when used in the right proportions.

My first image is red and green as represented by a close up photo of some holly.
Red and green 1to1-resized
J.W. Von Goethe’s value for both red and green is 6 and therefore a ratio of 1:1 will balance these two colours in an image.

My second image is blue and orange, blue having a value of 4 and orange a value of 8, thus the best ratio for balance is 1:2. As orange is the stronger colour, I think that in most cases, the orange will work best as having a smaller area in the photo than the blue; so not to overwhelm the picture with it’s bright dominance. However, this may not always be the case and under the right circumstances the opposite (orange dominant to blue) may lead to a very striking picture.
Blue and orange 1to2-resized

My last image is the combination of yellow and violet and probably not the most commonly found natural combination, but this image I took by chance during the summer.
Violet and yellow 1to3-resized
J.W. Goethe suggested that the ratio for this combination of colours should be 1:3 to achieve balance. Therefore, I suggest that as yellow has a value of 9 and violet a value of 3, it would normally be best to create a balanced image using 1 part yellow and three parts violet, as shown above.

Exercise – Primary and Secondary Colours


In this exercise I have taken 18 x photos, choosing colour as the theme and I have attempted to match as closely as possible the colours on the colour wheel as illustrated on page 108 of the OCA Art of Photography text book. A PDF copy of which is included above this text, please click on the link to see the PDF copy.

I have photographed each subject three times at half-stop differences with one half-stop above and one half-stop below the light meter’s recommended setting to illustrate how the colours will appear to alter when deliberately choosing to use a different setting other than that recommended by the camera.

Referring to the colour wheel from page 108, I have worked my way around the wheel, clockwise, starting from the top my first three images represents the first colour on the wheel, yellow, which is considered a primary colour in the spectrum of reflected colours, but is a secondary colour in the spectrum for coloured light. The reason for this is in the light spectrum yellow is made from a mixture of colours of light.
This images were taken at 1/80 between f/4, f/4.5 and f/5 in RAW with no alterations in post processing.
This image appears to me to have the closest representation of the yellow on the wheel at f/4 which was half a stop above the metered value.

Orange is the next colour on the wheel and this is considered as a secondary colour as it is made with a mixture of yellow and red. Camera was set to 1/60 between f/4, f/4.5, f/5.

This image taken at f/4.5 is the closest match to the orange on the wheel which was the metered value.

The next colour is red, which is considered to be a primary colour for both reflective and light colours.
The camera was set to 1/60 between f6.3, f/7.1 and f/8.

The closest match is f/6.3 a half-stop higher than the recommended metered value.

The next colour on the wheel is violet which is a secondary colour and is made from a mixture of red and blue, this is a tougher colour to find and after much searching I came upon a small wild violet growing against a wall of my house. Camera set to 1/125 between f/9, f/10 and f/11.

Again my choice for the closest match is a half stop higher than the metered value for more light on to the image.

The next colour on the wheel is blue, this colour is considered to be a primary colour for both reflected colour and coloured light. I used the sky as my subject for this image as it is probably the most commonly found, natural, source of blue in photographic images.
Camera was set to 1/80 between f/11, f/13 and f/14.
In this selection I have chosen the image a half stop lower; so reducing the light on to the image and thus making the image a little darker to a deeper blue. (f/14).

The final colour on the wheel is green and this colour is a secondary colour in the reflective spectrum being mage from a mix of blue and yellow, but is a primary colour as light in the light spectrum fro example as used by computer monitor screens, etc.
My camera was set to 1/60 between f/4, f/4.5 and f/5.

My final choice to the nearest match on the wheel is the darkest image taken at f/5.

Exercise – Control the strength of a colour – cameras with a manual option

In this exercise, I photographed a print of a poppy on the side of a shopping bag and manually adjusted the camera’s settings to alter the appearance of the strength of colour.

Having set up my camera and subject, I set my camera to manual and set a shutter speed to give me a range of apertures. I then metered through the camera to find the average metering setting for a normally acceptable exposure as calculated by my camera, in this instance it was f11 at 1/5sec.
I then took five photos starting at f5.6, f8, f11, f16 and f22.

The results:
f/5.6 – Very over exposed, the colour is orange in tone with the high key colour lost and now turned to white. Using Photoshop to review the colour values over this image for both bright and dark areas of the red in RGB and HSB.
Bright or high key: RGB – R:255, G:62, B:63 and HSB – H:0°, S:76%, B:100%.
Dark or low key: RGB – R:255, G:0, B:26 and HSB – H:354°, S:100%, B:100%.

f/8 – Over exposed, the colour has stronger tones of orange but has an almost florissant quality about it and in some circumstances this may produce a more pleasing effect if properly controlled. Using Photoshop to review the colour values over this image for both bright and dark areas of the red in RGB and HSB.
Bright or high key: RGB – R:253, G:13, B:52 and HSB – H:350°, S:95%, B:99%.
Dark or low key: RGB – R:222, G:0, B:15 and HSB – H:356°, S:100%, B:87%.

Average metering f11-resized
f/11 – The average meter setting according to my camera for a standard expectable exposure. This original colour appears to me to have small tones of orange in the colour. Using Photoshop to review the colour values over this image for both bright and dark areas of the red in RGB and HSB.
Bright or high key: RGB – R:247, G:6, B:77 and HSB – H:355°, S:76%, B:97%.
Dark or low key: RGB – R:138, G:0, B:0 and HSB – H:0°, S:100%, B:54%.

f/16 – Slightly under exposed the colour looks richer a more red in colour and losing the orange tones. Using Photoshop to review the colour values over this image for both bright and dark areas of the red in RGB and HSB.
Bright or high key: RGB – R:197, G:24, B:44 and HSB – H:353°, S:88%, B:77%.
Dark or low key: RGB – R:98, G:13, B:18 and HSN – H:356°, S:87%, B:38%.

f/22 – Very over exposed, the colour is now much darker and also gives me an impression of a darker mood to the image. Using Photoshop to review the colour values over this image for both bright and dark areas of the red in RGB and HSB.
Bright or high key: RGB – R:129, G:6, B:24 and HSB – H:351°, S:95%, B:51%.
Dark or low key: RGB – R:54, G:0, B:0 and HSB – H:0°, S:100%, B:21%.