Floral still lifes: Ten top tips, page 3 – Colour confidence

8. Colour Confidence
A colour wheel or circle is traditionally used in the field of art and provides a useful guide for creating colour harmony. Colour harmony creates visual interest and a sense of order. When something is not harmonious, it looks either boring or chaotic.


One way of creating harmony is by using complementary colours. This is any two colours which are directly opposite each other on the wheel, such as red and green and red-purple and yellow-green. Opposing colours, like this purple and yellow composition shown here, create maximum contrast and make a bold statement.

9. White Background
Achieving a clean white background is one of the ultimate tests for a still-life photographer. In the northern hemisphere the cool colour temperature of the light creates a blue cast. This is more noticeable in images that have white as the predominant colour.

Fortunately, digital cameras allow us to vary the colour balances and, to some extent, the contrast or dynamic range. The best way to achieve a correct white balance is to use the Custom or Manual white balance mode.

By simply pointing the camera to a sheet of white A4 paper under the lighting conditions you are working in, a proper balance of colours can be set. Be careful not to underexpose your image as this will result in a grey rather than white background. Shooting in Raw format will allow you to make all these adjustments to the images at the post-production stage.

Sympathetic Lighting10. Sympathetic Lighting
Controlling your lighting is key to producing a successful image. Think about what kind of lighting would complement your subject and choice of background. Lighting from the side, for example, throws long shadows and enhances rough textures. If you have a translucent subject or one with a strong graphic shape you may want to backlight it.
For soft, even light such as this try window light on an overcast day, but enhance it with silver reflectors otherwise it will be too flat. During the winter months gold reflectors will warm the colder colour temperature.

(All Images by Emma Peios)

  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Floral still lifes: Ten top tips, page 2 - taking the photo
  3. 3. Floral still lifes: Ten top tips, page 3 - Colour confidence
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