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A guide to Colour for Landscape Photographers Learn to Create Stunning Images

Capturing and freezing time is the essence of photography. But landscape photography is the photographic genre that captures the spirit of the world around us. It is the act of seizing photographs of wilderness and nature. Photographers handle landscape photography as a way to exhibit their affinity with nature. It is no surprise why it is the most favoured class of photography. But, it takes a lifetime to grasp landscape photography skills.

It generally does not sit in a specific category of photographic art. Landscapes have a rich artistic past. Right from when the first ever landscape art was created as a neolithic mural in an ancient city in Turkey to when a black-and-white landscape picture of an Australian photographer sold for a whopping $6.5 million, landscapes have always given an influential touch to the world of art. However, a landscape photograph is a landscape photograph if the guy who captured it or viewed it says so.

Table of Contents

Colours and Landscape Photography

With the help of some hues and shades, one can narrate a story in their image. The first thing viewers get struck by when they look at a picture is its colours. Colours can romanticize a picture or play havoc with it. The photographer’s job is to display the colours in the landscapes as they see them. It is what gives you a style; it is what makes you a vibrant-coloured fella or a black-and-white being. Thus, it is inevitable to understand colours and how to integrate them with your landscape photography skills to create astonishing images.

Create stunning images and colourful landscapes using colour and tones

Colours get involved in both the preparation and post-processing phases of photography. It is eminent to decide how colours should relate to each other in your photography. Creating a perfect colour harmony for the visuals you wish to capture can make a massive difference to the image even before it has been taken. In rare instances, the outcome would not be as grandeur as we expected. But fortunately, we can take care of that in the post-processing stage by editing the image in editing software like Lightroom. To deal with all this, you should understand the implications of colour harmonies and their types.


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Colour theory and harmonies for colourful landscape photography

The approach of melding specific colours to make them look wonderful together is known as colour theory. The substance of colour theory is the act of organizing colours into harmonies, creating colour harmonies. These colour harmonies are intimately used in the field of photography. As far as landscape photography is concerned, among several colour harmonies, three harmonies prove to be adaptable and versatile: Complementary, triadic, and Analogous.

Colour wheel example for Colour for landscape photographers

Best color combination(harmonies) to use in landscapes and colourful photography processing

When composing a landscape photograph, pay attention to the colours in the scene. Consider how you can use the hues to produce a particular mindset or sensation. Also, think about how the colours can help convey the landscape’s scale.

In general, try to use a limited number of colours in your landscape photographs. Too many colours can be unsettling and cause a picture to seem busy. On the other hand, a few well-chosen colours can help to create a sense of harmony and balance in a photograph. Setting some exceptional colour composition can take a picture from a fair shot to a fantastic shot. With that said, let’s look for some best colour harmonies in landscape photography.

Complementary colour harmony

This type of colour harmony includes those colours that reside directly across each other on the colour wheel.

Triadic colour harmony

It combines three colours proportionately spaced from each other on the colour wheel.

Analogous colour harmony

These are the group of colours that lie directly adjoining each other on the colour wheel.

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Emotions and sense of depth

Colours and feelings are indissolubly connected. Therefore, colours are a powerful tool for photographers to create appeal and passionate weight to their images. In landscape photography, the emotional ambiance of the photograph can be ascertained from its colours. They even depict the weather or seasonal condition in which you took the photo. Primarily, landscape photographers administer warm and cool colours.

Warm colours

Warm colours are those associated with sun rays and heat. These colours trigger visual activity and create a sense of nearness in viewers’ minds. In nature, you can extensively find these colours in the Golden hour with alluring and warm tones. Examples of warm colours include:

  • Red – Transcends Passion, Love, and Anger
  • Orange – Spreads Happiness
  • Brown – Represents Earth and acts as a visual anchor
  • Yellow – Produces Energy and Awe

Colour for landscape photographers warm colours

Cool colours

You want your colours to pop and catch the eye, but you don’t want them to be overwhelming. One method to execute this is by exploiting cool colours. Cool colours are typically those on the spectrum’s blue or green side. They can create a calming effect and make the other colours in your photo stand out. Examples of cool colours include:

  • Blue – Lays out calmness and serenity
  • Green – Lets out optimism and freshness
  • Purple – Depicts royalty and wealth
  • Grey – Symbolizes neutrality and balance

Cool colour examples Colurs for landscape photographers

Best times of the day to use colours in Landscape photography

One of the most consequential things to think about when photographing landscape is the time of day.

The Golden hour – The right time that rocks with the sun

The light during golden hour – the first and last hour of sunlight during the day – is gorgeous and can make your photos pop.

The warm, yellowish light during golden hours is immaculate for shooting landscape photos. It’s also a great time to take portraits, as the soft light is very flattering. If you’re taking pictures of individuals, have them face the sun, so they’re not squinting. 

Golden hour happens twice daily, so you’ll need to plan accordingly. For example, if you’re shooting in the morning, make sure to be in place well before sunrise. And if you’re shooting in the evening, stay until well after sunset.

Keep in mind that golden hour changes throughout the year. For example, in the cold seasons, the sun rises and sets much earlier than in the summer. So if you’re planning on taking landscape photos during golden hour, you’ll need to adjust your schedule accordingly.

Golden hour example Colour for landscape photographers

The Blue hour – As gentle as water reflections

The sky often takes on a beautiful blue hue like a waterfall as the sun sets. This is known as the blue hour, and it’s a great time to take landscape photos.

To capture the blue hour in your photos, use a tripod and set your camera to a low ISO. Then, use a long exposure to capture the beauty of the sky, and don’t forget to edit your photo afterwards to bring out the best in it. With a bit of practice, you’ll be able to take stunning landscape photos during the blue hour.

The night – Black stuff with white dust

Finally, another good time to use colour in landscape photography is at night. This is when the stars come out, and the sky gets dark. The colours can be very rich and intense, and you can get some beautiful photos. Just be aware that it can be more challenging to shoot at night, so you’ll need to be prepared with the right gear and knowledge.

Star photo example for Colour for landscape photographers

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