The Visual Elements: Color
This is probably one of my favorite images, to date. Not only because of the color, but because of the value. We went out into the woods—me, her and a friend, and played around to get multiple, beautiful shots.
Color defines the specific hue in an image and is literally light reflected off objects. It is probably the one visual element that gives the most pleasure. It can be broken down into three categories: Hue, Intensity, and Value.
Hue is expressed in three primary separations of color: red, green, and blue. All other colors are combinations of these three.
Intensity describes the purity of a color. If a color is “bright”, it is closer to its purest form being undiluted by other colors-having high intensity. If a color is “dull”, it is further from its purest form being diluted by other colors-having low intensity.
The previous post discusses the properties of Value (Light) in the black and white zone system. The same idea can be applied to color. Lets use blue for an example: baby blue would have the lightest value and midnight blue would have the darkest value, all other blues would exist in between the two. All of the degrees of color have a relative lightness or darkness to them.
Color can be used by an artist in multiple ways. One of them being the addition of emotion to the image. For example, colors that are pure and bright evoke a feeling of happiness in most viewers vs. colors that are dull and dark, evoking a feeling of sadness. Red is associated with fury, death, urgency while blue is calming and cooling.
The ways that an artist employs color can either help or hurt an image. Certain colors work very well together while certain colors clash horribly. With the use of a color wheel this problem can be solved. Of course, if the artist intends to repulse a viewer then multiple clashing colors would be great!
My goal for this image was to create a stark contrast of color and value on the model vs. the background. Some of my friends have asked me if this was done in a studio, perhaps on a green screen and the background photoshopped in. I think they ask this because of the very intent I had in creating that difference. It’s almost as if the background is a painting…