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Photography Tips: Add Impact Using Red Colour

Updated on April 4, 2013
A red background instantly enhances a portrait
A red background instantly enhances a portrait
Red roses always look good in photos
Red roses always look good in photos

Have you ever thought how different colours might affect the acknowledgment of your images by the viewer? Have you ever noticed how photos with red colour in them for some reason immediately grab your attention? There is an answer to this phenomenon and in this article I want to take a look at this and explain the reasons.

How human brain works

Effect of colours on people’s behaviour has been a long time object of studies and researches. The way we percept a colour is connected with psychology and the way our brain works. Red colour among others such as orange and yellow is coming from the group of warm colours and has influence on human feelings and emotions.

From the ancient times red colour was associated with passion, romance and was the symbol of love, that’s why on Valentine’s Day we are surrounded by red hearts and red roses. Red colour has also ability of grabbing attention fast and is used to warn about a danger, for this reason road sign “stop” is in red colour. Another association that the red colour has been made with is courage and sacrifice, being probably connected to the red colour of blood.

Red shoes are sure attention grabbers
Red shoes are sure attention grabbers
Clothes in red colour make your image pop
Clothes in red colour make your image pop

Red colour trick was long known and used in our modern life, for example by those people, who are working in advertisement business to get more viewers. The same way it can be used in photography depending on the message you want to send and your personal attitude to red colour, because let’s face it, red colour is not to everyone’s taste because of its strength and intensity.


Red colour in photography

Following the approach of people in business you can use red colour to promote your photos and get more attention. The more of red colour is in the photo the more attention grabber your photo is going to be.

Let’s look at the portraits of people wearing red or being placed against a red background. It is scientifically proven that a woman wearing a red dress or photographed against a red background appears to be more attractive to men and vice versa.

Food in red colour stands out well on black background
Food in red colour stands out well on black background
Another example of using a red background
Another example of using a red background

Red looks great when used with selective colour. Photo with the main object in red colour and the rest of image in monochrome will most certainly grab viewer’s attention.

Photos of red flowers significantly stand out as well, what make a stronger impact than an image of a beautiful red rose?

Possibilities to use red colour in photography are endless, it’s just need to be done with taste and imagination. Having said that, it doesn't mean all your images now should have red colour in it to be noticed. Red colour is just another way to make your photos stand out and add an extra interest to them.

Red is great when you plan to use selective colour in post processing
Red is great when you plan to use selective colour in post processing
It's not only the subject that matters in this image, but also red colour which goes well with green
It's not only the subject that matters in this image, but also red colour which goes well with green
Combination of red and white, it's like fusion of fire and innocence
Combination of red and white, it's like fusion of fire and innocence

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    • Dina Blaszczak profile imageAUTHOR

      Dina Blaszczak 

      5 years ago from Poland

      @ Giselle Maine Thanks for reading, glad you enjoyed it :)

    • profile image

      Giselle Maine 

      5 years ago

      Great tips, Dina! I really liked this hub, it was so useful. I'll be following you - I am looking for good photography tips to improve my pics.

    • Dina Blaszczak profile imageAUTHOR

      Dina Blaszczak 

      6 years ago from Poland

      @ripplemaker Thank you for the welcome and for the reading! :)

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 

      6 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      This is interesting! Hmmmm now I should be thinking red. LOL I am on my way to check out your site and your other photos! Welcome to Hubpages Dina! :)

    • Dina Blaszczak profile imageAUTHOR

      Dina Blaszczak 

      6 years ago from Poland

      @TrahnTheMan Thanks for reading and confirming my theory :)

    • TrahnTheMan profile image

      TrahnTheMan 

      6 years ago from Asia, Oceania & between

      Interesting :-) I remember that in the days of film, especially the stock that were around in the 50s by Kodak that red appeared particularly vibrant so every director of photography would try to get at least one red item in a shot, whether it was a red car or a person in a crowd wearing a red jacket or a red lampshade in the corner of the room.

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