Category Archives: 3 – Colour relationships

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.


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.