We Live in a World of Color

A mix of orange and blue light illuminate a modern building in Vienna, Austria

A most powerful evocator color stirs a range of emotions including lust, anger and fear; instils a sense of calmness, melancholy or happiness; and is used to evoke notions of purity, good and evil. Color signifies the professionalism of a business executive and flags religious identity, royalty and nationality. 

But what is color and how do photographers deal with it?  

Designing Photos Around Color

When we look at a well designed image one or more of the following will occur:

  • Dark objects seem to advance
  • Light objects seem to recede


  • Warm colors (e.g., yellow bikini) seem to advance 
  • Cool colors (e.g., blue sky) seem to recede


  • Warm colors (e.g., red) excite the mind
  • Cool colors (e.g., green) calm the mind

Understanding and, wherever possible, implementing the above points in your own photography will help you make better photographs.

The last splash of Autumn color in an othewise wintery landscape near Arrowstown on the South Island of New Zealand.

The Use Of Color In Story Telling

Photography is all amount communication and color can be used to tell the viewer where to look and how to feel. Color can be employed to express a particular point of view or to explore a particular mood or feeling.

I made this photo near Arrowtown on the South Island of New Zealand early one winter’s morning. The warm color of the tree is offset beautifully against the cooler colors of the landscape and by the frost covered ground. 

I feel this image successfully blends reality with the more surreal elements within the scene in a way that romanticizes the moment.

Photography: A Lifetime Of Rewards

I felt elated after making this image. It was a great reward after a very busy and sometimes difficult trip. The experience of being able to record such a moment, as though between heartbeats, and bring all the otherwise disparate elements together in a cohesive manner really excites. It’s so much of what photography, as an art form, is all about.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru