Color Theory for Photographers

 

Lesson Info

Class Introduction

Thank you. So, how many people in here, raise of hands, are photographers? Okay, awesome, I'm in the right place. How many of you are artists? Okay, so I gotta good show of hands on that one. Usually I don't a very good show of hands on that one because it typically, what we find, is that photographers don't really consider themselves as artists, in this industry. Believe it or not. I teach a lot of people, and that comes up a lot in emails: "Blake, I'm not an artist. I can't do what you do." But, you are an artist because you're a photographer. Your medium just so happens to be a camera. That's what you've chosen as your artistry. So, really what it comes down to is that artists are just creative problem solvers. So if you've ever done anything with gaft tape, how many of us photographers have done that? Duct tape? I know all of us have done something creative with duct tape. You should see half my house. Don't ask my wife. (laughs) so what happens is you solve problems creatively and...

that's what makes you and artist. If you're thinking to yourself that "this whole Color Theory thing is not my cup of tea because I'm not an artist", then as a photographer you need this even more. Color Theory is something I'm very passionate about. Its something that was a big move for me when I came into photography, to understand why my photos were horrible. It was like, "why can't I make these things look good?" and a lot of it was I wasn't embracing who I was as an artist. I wasn't embracing the color concepts that I had drilled into myself as a painter. Almost as if when I transitioned from a painter to a photographer, I threw it all away. Why would you do that? That's some powerful information there. Color Theory is kind of like sarcasm, okay? (audience laughs) sarcasm is one of those things that if you've never heard it before, you're gonna be like "why is that guy so mean to you?" You know, and then the more you're around it the more you're like "okay, I get what he's doing. But I don't understand it yet." and then the more you're around it, the more you start to understand it. And you're like "okay", and then you start doing it, right? Color Theory is the same way. Before you don't know you don't know much about this, you look at it and say "this is such a foreign concept to me, what is this Color Theory thing in relationship to photographers, as opposed to painters?" But then once you're around it enough and you surround yourself with it deliberately, you then begin to understand it. You begin to accept it so that you can understand it, and then use it yourself. So this picture is really interesting. Its a painting that I did, it was a series I did, that I actually considered a failure for myself. Whether you like the composition or not. It wasn't really the study for me. The study with this painting for me was, I was doing it diptych, and a diptych is two pieces that are similar in nature that work together in the painting world. The image that you see on the left hand side is the image that I was painting, that I wanted to paint. And on the right hand side was the image that I wanted to emulate. Its the exact same painting, just flipped. And I tried to reverse all the colors in my head based off of what I knew about color. It was a really strong study that I could do to try to understand how colors interacted and to see if I even knew what the reverse of these colors were. And you'll understand this as we talk about Color Theory. So then my test was, "okay after I've done this I'm gonna take this one into Photoshop, and I'm gonna invert it to see if I've made this one. And then I'm gonna take this one and invert it to see if I made this one." and I was so upset with myself because it didn't work. I pulled it into Photoshop, and this looked nothing like this, and this looked nothing like this. And I actually gave these pieces away. I was like "I'm done, I don't even want them anymore." I gave them away. But there was something I didn't understand about how Color Theory works in the digital world, as to how Color Theory works in the painters' world. So they are very separate, but they are very equal. And you have to understand and know both to be able to operate within both. What you're gonna find out at the end of this is that this wasn't a complete failure. It might look like it, but it wasn't. What we're gonna talk about here in this specific lesson of this is: Why is Color Theory important? Colors and Emotions, How do we use Color Theory? And Color Relationships.

Color Theory is often referred to as "Painter's Knowledge." However, the truth is that having a strong foundation in Color Theory as a photographer can make a world of difference in your finishing effects and help you define your artistic style. Post processing expert Blake Rudis walks through Color Theory from the basics to the practical application so that you can improve your photography, post processing techniques, and style.

 
 
 
 

Reviews

  • Mind blown in this short class! MORE, MORE, MORE...I'm going to go find his other classes right now. He does go pretty quick but the tidbits of amazing tricks using curves and gradients are amazing!
  • I really enjoyed Blake’s class. He is very clear and concise and I found it very helpful to learn a bit more about colour interaction and how to play with it. I would also like to know how to add the zone chart.. many thanks!
  • A lot of new information in here for me. The theory is very well presented: clear and engaging. I'll need to learn more about Photoshop to fully take advantage of the practical aspects, but that's OK, always good to have something new to learn. This is a course I'll be happy to come back to as I learn more.