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How to Use Color in Your Photography to Give Your Photos the Wow Factor

Photography is a wonderful art form that is enjoyed by people all around the world. It is a popular medium of expression, a fine art, a way of documenting our journeys and memories, and even a way to change views. Originally, when photography started it was all black and white, and historic photographers learned their craft in this way. Whilst this can be a great way to bring out textures and shapes, the introduction of color is a great way to attract attention and add impact to your images. Here are 5 tips to show you how to use color in your photography to give your photos the wow factor:

1. Find a colorful scene


St Nectain’s Glen waterfall, Cornwall, England

The first thing to do is to find a colorful scene. The way the countryside unfolds in the summer, for example, can be a wonderful way to show color in a landscape. Purple hues of lavender or golden wheat fields are all examples of where color can be captured to help your images stand out.

You could focus on one dominant color in a scene such as green. Alternatively, seek out a variety of tones like a cool blue sky mixed with a red field which can give your photos some impact and evoke different emotions. Blue can provide feelings of cold, whilst red can give warmth, energy, and excitement.

You can also use complementary colors in captivating ways. They refer to colors on opposite sides of the color wheel. For example, red and green or blue and orange. Other colors that work particularly well together include yellow, red and orange; and pink, purple and blue.

2. Look for details with color


Poppy field, England

Another way to use color in your photography is to look for details with color. You can photograph individual flowers in bloom such as bluebells or plant crops. As a part of a broader scene, you can photograph flowers like vibrant red poppies swaying in a field.

Think about the different colors and details you could photograph near you and experiment with a variety of color palettes to see what works well. Try and find details to photograph with single colors and combinations of colors to see which you prefer. Red is a strong color that attracts the viewer’s eye whilst yellow and orange can also command attention.

3. Change your white balance setting


Stonehenge, England

One great advantage of the white balance setting is that your camera has the ability to change the color of your images simply by adjusting the white balance.

There are several different types of white balance which can be varied according to different lighting scenarios – auto white balance is the default setting for most cameras. Shade, cloudy and daylight can be selected for warmer and brighter colors, whilst tungsten and auto present cooler colors.

As the name suggests, a ‘shade’ white balance setting can work well in lighting conditions with shade and shadows, whilst ‘cloudy’ is a good choice when it is overcast. There is also an option to manually adjust your white balance to alter the color temperature to your taste.

4. Use a polariser to boost color and contrast


Oxford, England

One of the greatest accessories you can have in your photography kit is a polarizing filter. A polarizer is usually placed at the front of your camera lens and is a versatile piece of equipment that can be brilliant to help darken skies, minimize reflections and manage glare from water sources such as lakes or the sea.

Polarizing filters are also a fantastic way to improve your images by instantly enhancing the color and contrast in your images. They don’t take up much space in your kit bag and are useful for making your images more distinct. Polarizing filters particularly work well in landscape photography by bringing out colors and reducing haze.

5. Boost colors in post-production


Oxford, England

You can also add color to images in post-production. One way to boost the color of your photographs is to increase the saturation in post-production. You will find a saturation slider in most editing tools. Both photoshop and lightroom offer an adjustment slider where the color can be increased by moving it to the right. There is also the option to increase the saturation of individual colors to make certain parts of your images more vibrant.


Using color can be a great way to enhance your images. You can find colorful scenes, vibrant details, adjust your white balance, add a polariser or adjust the saturation in post-processing to give your photos more impact.

Try these techniques and share your images with us below. Also, if you have any other tips, feel free to share those too!



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Jeremy Flint
Jeremy Flint

is a UK based award winning travel and landscape photographer, known for documenting images of beautiful destinations, cultures and communities from around the world. He recently won the Association of Photographers Discovery Award 2017 and the Grand Prize in the 2016 National Geographic Traveller and F11 Your Vision competitions. His pictures are represented by 4Corners images and have been featured in National Geographic Traveller, Outdoor Photography, Digital SLR Photography and national newspapers.

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