When planning a photo session, we often think about details such as location, clothes, makeup, and even accessories. But it's just as important to consider what kind of feeling or tone you want to capture in your photos and the colors you'll want to use to help you get there.

The human brain recognizes color before identifying any other element of an object or image, such as shape or texture. All colors are associated with different emotions or feelings which may vary depending on the culture or perceptions ​​of the viewer. For the most part, colors have a common meaning: 

  • Light colors convey a more friendly, informal tone; 
  • Vivid colors convey a message of energy, enthusiasm, or fun; 
  • Dark colors are perceived as more authoritative, strong, and dramatic; 
  • Opaque colors send a message of conservatism and sometimes even shyness

Once you know what kind of feeling or tone you want to capture, you can then choose a color combination using the color wheel to create the best balance of colors in your final photos. There are several types of combinations, such as complementary colors like red and green, which when placed next to each other create high contrast in an image. Think a bright red dress against green foliage like in the picture above! 

If you aren't familiar with the color wheel, that's okay. Let's talk a little bit about it. The color wheel is a basic tool for color matching, widely used by designers, photographers, and advertising professionals. It consists of 12 colors divided into primary, secondary, and tertiary colors. Primary colors – yellow, blue, and red – are colors that can be mixed to create other colors. Secondary colors – orange, green, and purple – are made by mixing two primary colors. Lastly, there are tertiary colors which are made by mixing a primary and secondary color.

Colors impact everything around us, we can't deny it. Colors have the power to evoke emotions and feelings in different ways, and when used effectively can take a photo from great to compelling. Next time you are planning a photo session, start thinking about color choice. It's the simple secret to creating stunning photos you'll love.