The Importance of Colour Harmony

Elegance, style and balance. When looking at a well designed piece, whether it is a logo, a website or a painting, we are absorbed by the colours. In designing, picking colours for a piece is not necessarily just about what the designer thinks looks good. Countless amounts of research have shown that people can be affected with exposure to colours, whether its a behavioural or emotional. It takes around 90 seconds for an individual to make a subconscious judgement on an item or person, and 60-80% of the judgement is made up by the colours the subject is perceiving.

To really understand colour harmony, you need to look at the basics of colour theory. I remember back in High School when I took Art GCSE we looked at certain colour properties especially the colour wheel and saturation. Anyone who has had art classes or studied design already know the principles behind colour properties and in particular, the colour wheel.

Initially formed in the 1660s by Issac Newton, the colour wheel is built of the primary, secondary and tertiary colours, in a pragmatic way.

Print

This colour wheel shows shades pastels, midtones and brights as well as the pragmatic order of colour. It can easily be split into different colour schematics from simple monotone, warm and cold and complementary.

It’s easier to separate the colours into temperature and saturation to describe their psychological effects so here are some of the emotions portrayed:

Hot – Aggressive and attention grabbing. Normally seen on news based websites, check out BBC, CNN, Reuters etc. They all lean towards warmer colours, whether it is is their logos or web design. 

Warm – Softer reds, oranges and yellows are more welcoming to us. Warmer tones are associated with inviting and welcoming designs, usually accent colours in waiting areas.

Cool– Purples, softer blues and greens give a meditative effect. Usually brings us back to nature with the association of relaxing flowers such as lavender.

Cold – Blues are associated with ice, water and freshness. Think a combination of blue, turquoise and green. Most associated with freshness these colours are often used in packaging for laundry detergent and air fresheners.

Pastels – Used to reflect the white space they are in. Often offices or hospitals will be painted in pastel shades to make the space look larger and more refreshing.

Pale – These colours are tints with a lot of white giving a faded effect. We often associate these colours with youth and innocence. Think to products for young children such as baby clothing and products. These colours are often associated with femininity too, most female products being pastel shades.

Brights – Usually the Primary colours or bold brights of secondary colours, think the use of these combinations by artists such as Mondrian or Andy Warhol. These are attention-grabbers and great for stand out products and websites.

abstract-abstract-expressionism-abstract-painting-1704119.jpg

Now we have the basis of temperatures, it also good to know the break-down of individual colours:

Red relates to energetic, passionate, action, ambition, love, anger, aggressive and determination. In some Asian cultures the colour red is lucky. In India it is seen as the colour of purity.

Orange  relates to adventurous, social, communicative, optimistic, enthusiasm, falsity, superficial and pessimism. It is perceived as a sacred colour in many cultures, as well as eternal happiness.

Yellow relates to cheerfulness, fun, good-humored, confidence, originality, creativity, challenging, academic , wisdom, judgmental, impatient, impulsive, spiteful, cowardly and deceitful. In the middle east, yellow represents happiness and good fortune.

Green – relates to growth and vitality, renewal and restoration, self-reliance, nature, balance, possessive and materialistic, indifferent, envious, selfish, greedy, inconsiderate and calm. In western cultures it is also perceived as lucky, whereas in Indonesia it is a forbidden colour. In the middle east, green represents youth, fertility and wealth.

Blue – relates to loyalty, trust, reliability, responsibility, conservatism, caring, contemplation, peaceful, depressed, passive, superstitious, predictable, aloof and frigid. It also promotes healing and safeguarding from evil in a lot of cultures.

Purple – relates to individual, creative and inventive, psychic and intuitive, humanitarian, mystery, fantasy, royalty, cynicism, arrogance, fraudulence.  Purple has traditionally been associated with royalty and with that wealth. In Brazil and Thailand, purple is associated with mourning and honouring the dead. 

Pink – relates to romantic love, compassion and understanding, nurturing, romance, warmth, hope, calming, sweetness, naiveté, femininity, physically weak, over-emotional, over-cautious.

Brown – represents the down-to-earth, wholesome, practical, approachable, friendly, stable, structured, supportive, comforting, reliable, protective, dull, boring, frugal, materialistic, lack of humor, lack of sophistication, predictable and cheap.

Black – relates to comfort, strong, contained, formal, sophisticated, seductive, mysterious, pessimistic, secretive and withholding, conservative, serious and powerful. It represents masculinity in some African cultures and represents rebirth and mourning in the middle east.

White – represents innocence, purity, cleanliness, equality, complete, simplicity, immaculate, self-sufficient, pristine, terile, stark, fastidious, empty, isolated, cautious, plain, distant and unimaginative. Western cultures the colour white symbolizes purity,  peace, and cleanliness. But in Asian cultures, such as China and Korea, white represents death, mourning, and bad luck, and is traditionally worn at funerals.

abstract-abstract-expressionism-abstract-painting-1150626

Let’s move onto the basic colour schematics. These aren’t necessarily all the colour schematics there are, just the most frequently used ones with examples.

Monochromatic

One colour on the wheel with multiple shade gradients from dark to light.

Screenshot 2019-02-09 at 16.23.43

 

Primary

The primary colours: yellow, blue and red.

Screenshot 2019-02-09 at 16.29.10

 

Secondary

The secondary colours: green, purple and orange.

Screenshot 2019-02-09 at 16.30.17

 

Complementary

Directly opposite each other on the colour wheel. Red and Green, Blue and Orange, Yellow and Purple.

Screenshot 2019-02-09 at 16.26.42

Achromatic

No saturation just shades.

Screenshot 2019-02-09 at 16.35.15

Analogous

Any three hues next to each other on the colour wheel.

Screenshot 2019-02-09 at 16.25.57

 

References/further reading:

Research on psychology and colour theory:
https://www.colorcom.com/research/why-color-matters

Useful colour scheme tool:
https://color.adobe.com/create/color-wheel/

Photography Tips #16: 7 Easy Rules of Composition

It’s been a while since I’ve written about photography and it is still one of the biggest parts of my life… so here are some of the things I have learnt over the past 8 years.
***

Photography composition takes a beautiful photo and makes it great. It also makes you slow down the snapping and get you to think about the subject and also what you are trying to convey. After all, photography is a form of art, and a great work of art does indeed take time. That is part of the beauty of it.

1) Don’t Restrict Yourself to Landscape.

The only things that should ever be kept landscape is phone pictures and video. Then again these are just unspoken rules, but vines would have looked so much better if people just turned their phone 90 degrees to fill the screen.
Using a Vertical format for a landscape image does something magical to a subject.

1
Aberystwyth Jetty, Ceredigion, UK – July 2016, Canon 6D 70-200mm f/2.8
In Landscape photography it is expected that you deliver landscape shots. However, to make your photography have an impact, there needs to be an element of the unexpected.
Additionally, a vertical frame gives you a taller area to deal with the foreground and the background. This really got me with seascapes, especially as sunset as it meant that I could pull down the colours of the sky and pull up the colours of the sea to create this balanced equinox of blue sky, blue sea melded with the sun’s evening display.

2) Lines!

 Lines are hands down my favourite thing to photograph. If you look at works by Rodchenko and the way he use lines in his black and white photographs, you may too be converted to the line life.
ALEXANDER RODCHENKO 1930
Aleksander Rodchenko 1930
Straight lines can be beautiful, but don’t limit yourself there! Try to find a converging point, get lower to the ground and take the risk of getting a bit dusty for a shot. Or just try out several framings for a certain line. Find a line that makes your eyes follow into the depth of your image.
PS-OTTAWA
Adriana, Byward Locks, Ottawa – Canon 6D 50mm f/1.8
HardKnott Roman Fort
HardKnott Fort, Cumbria, August 2017 – Lumix G7 (standard kit lens)
A good way to start with lines is to find a good building and play around with the lines against the sky or finding the lines within the building itself and take many many photos of different compositions to see for yourself what works best for you. Back in 2011 I did this in a Sainsbury’s Carpark in the UK and found some crazy shapes and lines I didn’t think I could find in a carpark!

3) Patterns & Symmetry

We are drawn to balance. This is what makes patterns and symmetry so powerful in any form of art, whether it is written word, traditional art, photography or even music. Patterns can be found in anything from manmade materials such as fences, buildings and pathways or naturally occurring such as plants, landscape and skylines.

IMG_5229-21
Llandudno

In this example of the pier in Llandudno the use of leading lines only emphasises the symmetry of the pier. What makes me really happy about this photo is the colour palette of muted blue and grey that balances the symmetrical properties. (Of course this is just an individual opinion and some may not like the balance and colours of this image, but of course art is individual and the artist does indeed know best 90% of the time.

4) Negative Space

img_2372-2
Le Mont Saint Micheal, France – Canon 6D, 18-40mm f/4.0

Negative space can be anything from a plain blue sky to a low aperture mush of colour. It is space that is not filled. We want to focus on a single subject the majority of time so use this to your advantage. Arguably you can use patterns as a negative space element, so long as it does not detract from the main visual, you’re good.

IMG_0021-12
Lake Windemere, UK – Canon 6D 24-105mm f/4.0
Don’t be afraid to use backgrounds as well like block colours, walls, floor for negative space with a subject. Also filling the frame with the subject/object can also have an effect much the same as negative space.

5) Natural Frames

Let things get in the way once in a while. Sometimes not having a “clear shot” is more interesting. While trawling the internet for examples of frame shots its always pictures of people in doorways and windows and I feel thats not a natural frame. Sure it looks cool and creates a frame in the photo, but it is not the kinda image that challenges the artist to get.

img_5729-4
Blue Planet Aquarium, Ellesmere Port, UK – Canon 6D 50mm f/1.8

img_0017-10
Lake Windemere, UK, Canon 6D 24-105mm f/4.0

6) Focus Focus Focus

Where is the focus at? Are you concentrating on something close up or far away, and if so what levels of depth does your potential subject have? In this instance, take off the auto focus on your lens and really get in tune with what you want to capture.

 

7) Make Mistakes

This may seem like a stupid point, but I can not implore how important it is to f*ck up once in a while. If you don’t then how do you know you have grown or improved? There needs to be the balance of amazing yourself at what you can do as well as having the ability to review your work and realise what you can do better or what needs to be improved on.

success

Normal Canadian Things I Find Weird #3

And so the saga continues. After being introduced to various aspects of coffee in Europe, see back to my Café and the Continent Post, I thought it may be good to share my thoughts on the Canada Coffee culture as its certainly…. different.
***

Normal Canadian Things I Find Weird #3 Canadian Coffee Culture

img_0008
So I can not say Briony anymore when it comes to ordering coffee at starbucks as no one can spell it so I go for Molly. Which isn’t always heard right…

Ordering Coffee – The Fast Food Coffee

(Not sure if this is just an anxiously awkward me thing or something others have faced as fearful foreigners.) 

Ordering coffee is a simple transaction. This statement has been challenging to me for a few months of being in Canada. Some uniquely Canadian thing, you can not escape from is the Double Double. What is a Double Double? It happens to be a coffee served with 2 cream and 2 sugar. Logical, if you understand the ordering system in this country. I wondered for a while why people would perpetually give me the funny look when I just wanted coffee.

img_0660

What I did not know is that in most places in Canada that do the coffee put the milk or cream and sugar in while they make it for you. This is madness. As someone who is used to getting the coffee and faffing about with sugar packets its completely mind blowing. More words to say at the cashier?! Outrageous. 
However, I understand the reasoning behind the order the sugar and milk; it does save the individual the faffing time… yet it is still a concept I need to get used to. And admittedly it does stop the days where you accidentally pour the sugar in the bin, and the paper into your coffee. This does happen more often than I would like to admit…

Roll Up the Rim Season

I mentioned this briefly in my previous post and I don’t understand the hype behind it. It’s all about the chance of winning – winning a doughnut, a coffee of a Honda Civic on a years lease. As I don’t understand it I asked my Canadian friends their thoughts…

“Roll up the rim is a Canadian classic, a Canadian pass time and overall a gamble to begin your day. Even though the coffee may be anywhere from weak coffee like water to week old cigarette butts juice the gamble of getting another coffee or pastry keeps us going.” – Mirre

I am like the wrong person to ask haha I hate Tim Horton’s! Even when I go and its roll up the rim I still get cold drinks. But I think people like it because it is cheap and good (I guess). And People love Roll up cause its like the chance to win on something you would probably buy anyway. It’s like if tampons came with a prize people would be like – This makes buying these more enjoyable hahaha – Maggie

I tried this phenomenon and did not win anything. Plus the whole concept of rim rolling is confusing and not easy to do if you haven’t heard of it before. Where is this hidden message? How do I unravel the secrets of the cup? One should not overthink these things.

The Rival $1 Coffee

So what I noticed while this whole rolling rim shenanigans is going on, across the road in McDonalds, there is a $1 coffee promotion. Coffee for $1. Thats basically 55p. Why would you go in for a roll lot of disappointment when you can have a large $1 coffee that actually tastes nice? Additionally you can collect the stickers on the cups so when the season is over you have copious amounts of free coffee. Thats a win win situation!

Cafeteria Coffee

I’m not sure if this is just an Algonquin College thing, but it kinda blew my mind. So there is a large variety of flavoured coffee. Not like vanilla lattes and caramel macchiatos… Nay, as in its flavoured coffee beans and that is something I’m not used to seeing regularly. I’m sure it exists elsewhere in the world but not as open as this.

coffee art
Some fancy coffee art from Bridgehead

*And finally*

French Vanilla

Why do we not have this back in the UK; and when we can get it, why is it so expensive?! I don’t know exactly what is in french vanilla, except for the vanilla of course, but it is pretty much a hot drink that rivals the godly status of hot chocolate on a cold rainy day. I suggest to anyone who like sweet things to go out of their way to try french vanilla as they will not be disappointed.

***

I am an avid coffee drinker, and these weird Canadian coffee credentials seem to make the experience smoother and more enjoyable so I don’t think I can complain too much!
Thanks for reading and enjoy the nice weather before 6th winter comes!

Links to my sites:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brionymollyphoto/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brionymollyphoto/

Snapshots #15: Toronto in Blue

Over the weekend I went to Toronto for the weekend. Being a short 4ish hour drive form Ottawa, what’s not to lose?

Toronto-November-2017Toronto-November-2017Toronto-November-2017Toronto-November-2017Toronto-November-2017Toronto-November-2017

 

I’ve been trying to stylise my pictures for a unique look and the G7 lets me play with colour so much more than my Canon 6d. All the edits are made in Lightroom on RAW files and exported as Jpegs.

2 Months of Canadiana Living

To be truthful it’s been very hard to put into words the transition of Europe to North America, so apologies for the delay, and enjoy this rambling read…
As a Brit moving to Canada didn’t seem that much of a move from the U.K. Oh how I was proven wrong. Of course the normal things of knowing that the British accent is loved were expected but a few things have thrown me slightly.

The best way to describe Ottawa is that someone has taken my memories of England and France and shifted them to the left a couple of inches. Pieces of Architecture from both cultures entwined with the modern city scape make living here easier than I expected.

_1030089-8

Language barriers

Unlike the conventional language barriers that are common in Europe, the Canadian Language barrier is more like a language hurdle that you can definitely have a laugh about. My usual experience with language barriers is with the complete inability to understand the noises someone is making. Over here it is as if someone wanted to make life more interesting and  just took a few words in the dictionary and switched the definitions and watch the chaos unfurl. As a Brit you could imagine my horror when I was told to come into work with no pants, as pants in Britain are underpants, not what the North Americans refer to as trousers. Again just small changes of words from mobile to cell, pavement to sidewalk and my favorite, courgette to zucchini. One of my favourite phrases of the UKadian night out that I definitely know not to ask is “Can I bum a fag?” This harmless whimsical slang of politely asking to borrow a smoke can be considered  as a bit unruly and may be seen as homophobic and not politically correct.  Many of my british english speaking friends also have encountered awkward language borders, a fun favorite is during classes; “Can I borrow a rubber?” which of course makes sense. a rubber to rub out your pencil. But alas, this does mean condom in the North Americas hence the perplexity and shock one receives from this statement.

“That’s a great British accent you have, how long have you been practicing?”
Oh my dear, if you didn’t figure out I was British from my accent I think we have an issue. My accent accentuates every little consonant to the extent that you may start to feel sorry for the letters being attacked and I have a habit of elision. However I have noticed something horrifying in the way I talk now that would make any elocution teacher shiver. My British Ts have digressed into Ds. (Send BBC Radio 4 care packages.)

But I notice some words I say are definitely different to the majority of people around me.(*Trigger Warning*)
Here is a list of words that I shall no longer say in fear of my own sanity, well being and integrity:

Aluminium
Vitamin
Schedule
Aubergine
Garage
Basil
Oregano
Corriander
Tuna
Yoghurt
Fillet
Route

One day we will be able to talk about you again.

_MG_0067-9.jpg

Shops, Pubs and Public Convenience

Shops are shops wherever you go, like you can buy your groceries in shops and markets all over the world and there is not much of  difference as the idea is ubiquitous. But lets look at our friend Ontario the province that I find myself in. Alcohol is not necessarily sold in supermarkets. There is no chance of going to the corner store to score yourself a bevvy. After living in Wales for the last 4ish years it is a bit of a surprise when you have to plan a trek to the local beer store or LCBO to buy the booze and not just pop down the road to replenish your liquor stocks. Okay, I see the pros for the government of monitoring alcoholism and things but also where is the equivalent meal for one deal you can get from M&S with microwave dauphinois potatoes and a bottle of prosecco?! I don’t think Canada has a M&S or Waitrose equivalent. (Why am I here again?!)

Lets move onto the purchasing of your groceries. I’m not sure If I am just an awkward or a rude person but in my experience of the Great British Shop, you don’t communicate unless its essential. This goes for retail and restaurants as well; there is no idle chatter. In my Canadian experience,  around 98% of the time, no matter the establishment, you’ll get someone saying “Hi” and engaging in conversation. *Panic stations* There is no way I would be prepared for this in the U.K. and usually would result in my abrupt walk away as it is an unspoken rule that this interaction is frowned upon in British society.

I would love to say Pubs are Pubs wherever you go. However, this would be a lie. Although, A bar is a bar wherever you go. If something claims to be a pub outside of Europe then I be prepared to have your idea of pub reformatted. Pubs are restaurants, and everything is on a tab. Pubs serve food always. And you usually pay at the table at the end of the night. And you tip. You tip a lot. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

_MG_0308-8

The City, The Town and Suburbia

I can’t really compare cities across the world only ones I’ve been to, so the majority European, the likes of London, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Paris, Lyon, Caen, Geneva, Salzburg, Riga, Brussels, Eindhoven and many other European Cities, and of course a smattering of cities in North America. And there is definitely a stark contrast between European Cityscape and North American.
I can’t say I hate the differences as they are just that different.

North American cities and towns seem to operate on a grid system. This is super handy to navigate and get around. It makes sense. The roads don’t have weird windy one way systems that make you want to drive off a bridge or lead you to somewhere miles away from where you need to be. The newer towns and cities seem to understand that roadways and sidewalks need to be wider for the regulation of road and foot traffic so there isn’t fear of death. *cough oxford street*.
However. There is a significant road feature that I miss. The humble roundabout. Europeans love it, the Americans don’t know how to use it, the roundabout wins hearts and eases traffic. Okay the last one was a lie, lets look at Milton Keynes and Swindon here for killing the roundabout. Yes, the roundabout is not a feature commonly use in Canada and well, it’s not exactly needed as most interactions are one road crossing another, not a knotty mess of 6+ plus roads crossing each other that seems to be a recurring feature throughout the European countries.

Onto the Suburbs. The place for commuting? I’m not quite sure why suburbs exist and how they exist and quite frankly they frighten me. Subdivisions are like council house estates in the UKadia but they seem to lack the integrated public conveniences and park space, just a twisted residential lattice with shopping centres located around it. It is definitely something I have not come across before in the Europes and something I’m not keen on trying out. I think I’ve watched too many suburban horror films.

_1020367

That’s what I make of my moving experience so far – Thanks for the read, leave me a star, a comment or a share and I’ll repay the favour.

 

Links to my sites:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brionymollyphoto/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brionymollyphoto/

 

 

Photography Tips #15: Basic Lighting Techniques

***This is just a basic introduction to lighting techniques and set up!***

Easily one of the most important elements of art, lighting is integral to any kind of photography.

3 point lighting

The standard lighting for everything photography and film.
lights

Key

The main light. If you are using 1 light then it is always the key light. Usually this is the strongest in the scene, and set at around 45 degrees to the subject.

Fill

The Secondary light. This is usually softer and set opposite the key light.

Hair/Back

The third light, usually placed behind the subject. This highlights the outline and creates the 3d effect.

Split Lighting

This is quite self explanatory, having a split contrast between light and dark. This effect is usually created with a just a key light to highlight half of the subjects face.

Fill Lighting

Used with just two lights, the key and the fill, fill lighting is used to light a face of object fully.

Snapshots #14: Ottawa awattO

I haven’t been driven enough to write loads recently, and being back in an education that seems almost full time (except the strike) means that I haven’t had a spare moment to create a post that gives justice to my absence… So here are some photos instead of Ottawa just before the dark sets in.

 

_1030062-6

 

_1030059-6

 

_1030050-7

 

_1030048-6

 

_1030010-6

All taken on a Lumix G7.
Can not recommend this little camera enough.

Photography Tips #14: Moving to Mirrorless

**Sorry for the no show I’ve had so much happen (all will be revealed) ***

I haven’t really been posting photography related things recently, mainly due to the combination of working very long shifts and being in the awkward waiting transitional period of graduating and continuing my life as an adult…

Camera equipment can be bulky and heavy, and that is not just the price tag. The amount of times I’ve had serious shoulder and neck ache from carrying two Canon DSLRs should have told me by now that I should either go to the gym to work on my weak muscles, or invest in some lighter equipment. As in previous posts my gym ambition and fitness is not exactly consistent and somewhat non-existent, so maybe the way of lighter equipment is the forward.

Canon has been a big part of my life since I was 14, when my parents bought me a 450d. Since then I’ve used a 550D, 6D, 60D, 70D and a 7Dii. (disclaimer: I haven’t owned them all.) However, the more I’ve upgraded and improved, the more I’ve realised that maybe a lighter alternative may be best for me. Especially when I’m just taking pictures (dare I say it) for fun.

Enter the Lumix G7 in my life. 

Compared to my Canon 6D, this is a whole new world of camera. If anything it’s got better shortcuts and buttons so I don’t have to move the camera away from my face when I’m taking pictures. Mainly thanks to the electronic viewfinder, but also to the handy wheels that are just so easy to use. It also is a third of the weight.

Picture quality is obviously not the same as a full frame. My expectations were that the G7 would produce flatter images. This actually to some extent, gives me more artistic scope when it comes to the editing side of the photography process. The images may seem cooler and flatter, but you can do so much with them.

P1000104
As shot
P1000106-13
Quick Edit

 

The detail it captures even when the photos aren’t set up properly is great, but also means that I need to work a bit more on the taking bit….

Another pro to this purchase is the G7’s video capabilities. Canon is seeming to be very behind and almost backwards on the video compatibility of their professional series. This added to their want for a better low light performance over dynamic range makes me sceptical of why I bought into the franchise back in 2015…
(However video will be another post)

More to come on video capabilities and 1 to 1 comparison with my 6d so keep posted!

Have a great September!