Creativity Exercise: A Pop of Red

When I first started on my photography journey, I had a slight obsession photographing the colour red. I didn’t know why or even realise I did it so often until people started to ask if I dressed my kids in red on purpose! I promise I didn’t as I knew nothing about colour theory or even using colour as a composition tool. Fast forward a few years and I’m still dressing my kids in red…but on purpose now! I now know and recognise my love for the colour and all of it’s (magical) powers!

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There are numerous studies on colour theory and how different colours influence us subconsciously. We have an emotional response to colours whether we choose to or not, and the same colour can evoke a different response depending on the context within it is used. Big businesses use these colour theories in their advertising all the time.

Red is often associated with passion, desire, love, danger, determination, strength, power and energy. Besides advertisers, photographers use colour as a tool in their compositions. You can incorporate all different colours, or a combination of colours, into your composition, but for the month of December, we’re going to focus on capturing the colour red.

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The value of red is that it POPS! Your eye always goes right to the red making it a strong compositional element within your images. In an image with contrasting bold colours, your eye will still go to the red first. In a busy image with lots going on and many different colours, a pop of red will add a focal point and place for the eyes to land first before moving around an image. In an image that lacks interest or a pleasing composition, a pop of red can add a point of interest to draw the viewer in. In an image with multiple pops of red, the eye will go to the largest one first and then move their way around from red to red to red, thus letting the red act as a leading line. In an image where the red isn’t part of the main subject, it can act as an anchor to support the subject.

That’s the power of red!

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The festive season is now upon us and red is everywhere! Whether you dress your children in red or not, you can’t avoid it at this time of year so it’s the perfect time to capture it. From Santa’s suit, to Rudolph’s nose, candy canes and stockings you shouldn’t have to look far to practice. But more than just capturing red, think how you can use it to enhance your composition.

Have fun this month! Capture your festivities, capture some red and use it as the powerful compositional tool that it is! As always, we’d love to see your images so please keep tagging us @unscriptedmentoring and #unscriptedmentoring on IG so we can send some love your way.

- Jenny

P.S. We all know how busy the holiday season is, so this will be the last creativity exercise posted until the New Year. It should be one to keep you busy all month, but if you’d like something more to work on there are four creativity exercises included in our e-book The Art of Self Portraits, available here.

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