Color Contrasts

Recently we discussed color composition, and now I would like to focus on color contrasts. Color contrasts occur when you include hues inside an image that are well separated from each other on the color wheel ( previous post color composition). While it’s true that strongly colored pictures may have an initial visual impact, they are not so easily organized into a successful image. More times than not, it’s better to look for a simple color scheme as part of a clear compositional structure – too many subject elements can very easily lead to disjointed and chaotic pictures.

Color Contrasts


Digital results

Digital cameras have the capability to capture very vibrant colors that look striking on your computer’s monitor screen. Because of the way the screen projects color, these are, in fact, brighter and more saturated than film can come close to. To keep your display perfectly balanced I recommend using color calibration software. X-Rite CMUNSML ColorMunki Smile is color calibration software and hard ware that is great for photo hobbyists, design enthusiasts, gamers and for web viewing, You could spend a lot more money calibrating your computer’s display but this is the level that suites me. Just plug the device into your USB port and follow the on-screen instructions. ColorMunki Smile does all the work with a few clicks of the mouse. Calibrates LCD & LED displays – laptop or desktop. Super easy and intuitive wizard driven software – no color science knowledge required. This kit is currently in stock and available through for $89.00  

Color gamut

 The intensity of computer enhanced colors gives them real appeal, but it’s in this strength that problems lie. Strong colors on the page of a book or website will compete with text on the same page. Strong colors are also likely to conflict with any other softer image elements.  You also need to bear in mind that even if you can see strong intense colors on the screen, you may not be able to duplicate them on paper. Purples, sky blue, oranges, and dazzling greens all reproduce poorly on paper, looking duller than they do on the screen. This is because the color gamut or range of reproducible colors, of print is less than that of the monitor. ColorGamut - Color Contrasts Of the many ways to show a range of colors this diagram is the most widely accepted. The rounded triangle encloses all colors that we can perceive. Areas drawn within this, the visual gamut, represent the colors that can be accurately reproduced by specific devices. Notice how some colors can’t be reproduced on the screen & vice versa.

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