Colour Theory In Food Photography
Colour Theory in Food Photography
These photos are from different shoots for different clients and are shot at different times of the day, but when placed together, they look harmonious. Why is this?
During this short article, I'm going to delve into the colour theory to try and answer this and also discuss the colour orange and how it impacts us emotionally.
What is colour theory?
Colour theory is a vast topic, but in essence, it explains how we perceive colour, logically organises colours with the aid of the colour wheel and helps us understand why colours work in harmony.
Understanding how and why colours work together and how certain colours impact the viewer's emotional response can make all the difference in how a photo is received. Emotion is the driving force when it comes to persuasion, and nothing appeals more to one's emotion than colour.
Visually, pleasing colours to the eye create a sense of order and balance that we enjoy. When colours clash, our brains tend to reject this information as either boring or too chaotic.
When developing an attractive colour scheme, the approach I prefer is to experiment with different colour harmonies using the colour wheel. These harmonies are a well-established combination of colours based on their position on the colour wheel and have been used by designers and photographers for years.
The most common are:
Split complementary colours
Before I start choosing colours, I think about what message I am trying to communicate. For all the photos presented in this article, the photos were being advertised in the summer, making sense to choose colours that portrayed that. Using orange delivers a feeling of warmth and joy, it evokes positivity and energy. Coral is the pinker side of orange and combines the femininity of pink with the optimism and energy of orange, perfect for that summer vibe I was looking for.
After choosing my base colour of orange/coral, I referenced the colour wheel, so I was able to visualise the different harmonies. I wanted a colour harmony that made the subject stand out. Analogous colours are located next to each other on the colour wheel and are shades to the left and right of the base colour - giving an almost monochromatic look. As Analogous colours are basically shades of the base colour (in this example orange) it gives a calmer and low contrast combination, which was perfect as my backdrop, making the subject really stand out.
The three images all follow the same colour harmony, which creates that overarching sense of energy and optimism, helping bind three completely separate and different photos together.
Photo 1 - Credits: Client: Lidl GB ; Art direction: Ali Davidson; Photography: Ryan Ball; Food Stylist: Amy Stephenson; Assistant: Amanda Canever
Photo 2 - Client: Creams Cafe; Art direction: Mascot Creative; Photography: Ryan Ball; Food Stylist: Seiko Hatfield
Photo 3 - Client: Lidl GB; Art direction: Ali Davidson; Photography: Ryan Ball; Food Stylist: Amy Stephenson;Assistant: Amanda Canever