Clashing colors: when they work… and when they don’t

Clashing colors: when they work… and when they don't

The latest instalment of our in-depth series on how to shoot color photography we investigate how to make photo compositions with clashing colors. We explain when clashing colors work best and when it’s best to leave them alone.

Clashing colors: when they work… and when they don't

There are so many different ‘rules’ of design that it’s easy to become discouraged and to think it’s all much more trouble than it’s worth. But here’s a very simple one that can make a difference to everything from photography to magazine layouts.

If things are meant to be different, make them very different. If they’re meant to be the same, make them the same. The confusion occurs when things are lost half way.

This applies very specifically to color. Contrasting colors which are opposite (or near enough) on the color wheel work well together, producing strong visual contrasts.

Harmonious colors, which are next to each other on the color wheel, produce pleasing, restful images.

The problems start when you combine colors which are neither similar nor opposite…

PAGE 1: What are clashing colors?
PAGE 2: When clashing colors work
PAGE 3: When clashing colors don’t work

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