Lens Based Media – Colour Theory & Composition

During our lesson on Monday 3rd October we learnt about colour theory. The basic fundamental of colour theory is that there are Primary colours, Secondary and Tertiary Colours. These colours make the colour wheel. In a lot of pictures, images and digital art we can portray different feelings or emotions by using different colours from different parts of the colour wheel.

  • Complimentary colours; by using colours on opposite sides of the colour wheel they make the picture a lot stronger and makes you pay attention to the picture.
  • Harmonious colours; by using colours next door to each other on the colour wheel give the picture a lot of peace but in a powerful and calming way.
  • Muted colours; by using mainly black and white pictures and a little colour, can make you show emphasis of a particular important part of the image or it can create a lonely and sad picture.

When taking a photograph or manipulating an image we also need to consider the Rule of Thirds where a picture is split into 9 even parts such as below. The horizon often falls on the horizontal lines. For more impact or movement in a picture, the main part would need to flow from the top left corner, through the middle to the bottom left corner, just like the human eye reads. If the main part of an image is just in the centre of the picture it creates a still and muted picture. Another way of creating a lot of power in a picture is by laying the most important part of an image over the cross sections. However, an image can still be powerful without using this technique, this is just one easy way to create interesting dynamics within a picture.

Another way to draw the viewer’s eye onto a certain part of the image is to bring that part to the foreground and the rest of the picture becomes the background. This is known as depth of field, which is the “amount of distance between the nearest and farthest objects that appear in acceptably sharp focus in a photograph”. While a lot of photographers are able to create this by using the camera, we can digitally manipulate an image and are able to create the same effect by using various types of software. Please find below my example of my digitally manipulated image where I have created depth of field to bring the leaf and frog to the forefront.


Digitally Manipulated