How to Simplify a Photo with Color

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you may know that I love minimalist photographs. I try hard to eliminate distracting elements in my images with composition, camera techniques, and color choices. One of my favorite ways to achieve a peaceful image is to use a monochromatic or analogous color scheme. Complimentary colors (located across from one another on a color wheel) call attention to themselves. Analogous colors (adjacent to one another on a color wheel) are much more subtle. A monochromatic color scheme uses just one color, often in a variety of hues and tones.

Use Complimentary Colors: Complimentary colors, when placed next to each other, help increase the contrast in an image which helps the subject matter stand out from the background.

  • Columbine - Varina Patel
  • Hourglass - Varina Patel

Analogous Colors: Images using analogue color schemes have a subtle feel to them and often appear as lower contrast image.

  • Singing the Blues - Varina Patel
  • Kilauea Lava Flow, Big Island - Hawai'i, USA

Monochromatic Color Scheme: One of the easiest times to find a monochromatic colors scheme is during the blue hour in the morning or in the evening. Here are some examples of a monochromatic color scheme.

  • Iceberg
  • White on White - Varina Patel

All of the examples above are dominated by just one of two colors. Restricting the number of colors is what helped simplify the composition of each photograph. The next time you’re faced with a cluttered scene, try to see if there is a way to simplify an image using these colors schemes.

About Author Varina Patel

There is nothing more remarkable to me than the power of nature. It is both cataclysmic and subtle. Slow and continuous erosion by water and wind can create landscapes every bit as astonishing as those shaped by catastrophic events – and minuscule details can be as breathtaking as grand vistas that stretch from one horizon to the other. Nature is incredibly diverse. Burning desert sands and mossy riverbanks… Brilliant sunbeams and fading alpenglow… Silent snowfall and raging summer storms… Each offers a unique opportunity. I am irresistibly drawn to the challenge of finding my next photograph, and mastering the skills required to capture it effectively.