If you follow my Instagram, you will know that I am a huge colour fan. I love to experiment with combinations, brights, neutrals, monochrome and the list goes on. Colour is a powerful tool in styling, interiors, photography and life in general. It can influence feeling, change your mood, alter perceptions and make or break interiors. Colour is everywhere and can be so inspiring, you only have to look to nature to find an unlimited range of colours and combinations.
I definitely don’t have a colour theme for my Instagram, anything goes and the colour reflects what I feel like trying on the day. This can be incredibly hard to manage to ensure that my feed doesn’t take on a crazy colourful life of its own. But I do have a few tips and tricks that I have learnt along the way to help you incorporate colour into your styling. If you are a colour fanatic already you may want to experiment with some different combinations or shades, if you are a little colour shy when it comes to your styling I have also outlined some more subtle ways to introduce colour without sending your audience into shock.
Firstly a few terms to get familiar with that will help you to understand colour and how to make it work best for you.
Primary Colours – Red, blue and yellow
Secondary Colours – Made by mixing equal measures of two primary colours – green, orange and violet
Tertiary Colours – Made by mixing equal measures of one primary and one secondary colour
Hue – The name given to any pure colour primary, secondary or tertiary that is not blended with black or white
Tint – Made by adding white to any pure colour making it a lighter version than the original hue
Shade – Made by adding black to the to a pure colour making it darker than the original hue
Tone – A tone is made by adding grey to a pure colour resulting in a softer version of the original colour
Monochrome has become a huge trend in recent years and very popular in interiors and in Instagram photos and feeds. Typically, people use black and white as their monochrome palette (me included) but it can be varying shades of any colour at all. Taking one colour and using it in a number of different shades gives an image interest, depth and texture and is a real treat for the eye. This is a simple style to try with your favourite colour and it’s easy to make it work with your existing feed. So why not step away from the black and white (although such a classic) and try pink, green, blue, also try adding different shapes, textures and patterns in that same shade to take your image to the next level.
Pastels always remind me of a candy bar and when I look at a collection of them together I can almost smell the sweet candy aroma!! The pastel trend has taken off and many people dedicate their entire feed to pastel perfection with some stunning results. Pastels are a great place to start if you are wanting to introduce a little colour but you’re not ready to get too crazy. These muted tones all work so beautifully in harmony and can be used individually, as a duo or go all in and mix any number of these pretty shades. For the best pastel results use colours that are the same saturation level, or you can introduce a couple of different levels of saturation to add some depth. Great for photo backgrounds as well as they are subtle enough to work with a number of varying tones, shades and tints. My favourites are pink (of course) and mint.
It’s also this week’s challenge theme so we can’t wait to see your pastels in action!
This is an easy way to be able to add colour to your images without committing to the full colour wheel. Start with one colour, I usually stick to something bright so you can really maximise the pop part of this style. Choose a neutral background and some neutral props that are fitting for the story you’re telling. Your hero pieces are items in your chosen bright colour that will be in stark contrast to your neutral items. I always add the neutrals first and the colour second so that I can make sure it is evenly distributed throughout the image and well balanced. If the coloured items are not balanced your eye will automatically jump to the colour, ignoring the neutral. When balanced, the colour will all work together and you will see the image as a whole. I tend to just stick to a single bright colour as my accent as more than one and I find they are fighting for attention. Pick me, pick me!
Another easy way of using colour in your images. I think this level of colour commitment is slightly braver than the ones above as it really is the base of your feed and it is important how you choose to work with it. Neutral props are a great contrast to a bright background to help them really stand out. This means that instead of the bright colour dominating your image. the props stand out just as much, if not more – a real team effort! If you wanted to take it up another notch you can introduce a contrasting colour to your prop selection, this colour needs to be something that complements the background colour, I would choose a colour that has the same saturation level as your background and add it in the same way as with the colour pop, balance is the key to creating an eye-catching image. One more thing to note, some highly saturated colours do not photograph that well and it is hard to get them to show their true colour. Grab a test pot and give it a go first before you commit to painting a large background.
You could also reverse this style and have a neutral background with brightly coloured props, same rules apply and if you’re feeling adventurous (which you all will be by the end of this) you could add more colours to your scheme.
COLOUR ON A BLACK BACKROUND
This little combo is a winner in so many cases and an easy way to make a stunning, eye-catching image with very little effort. I would say that most colours would work well with this style, bright, pastels, neutrals and whites – give them all a go.
If you’re going for the high contrast look then consider that dark colours on a black background will start to lose their effect. I have been experimenting a lot with this style, I love using it for food and florals at the moment but have also used neutral palettes successfully. It is really down to experimentation and your imagination.
FULL ON BRIGHTS
Maybe you want to skip all these subtle ways of adding colour and jump straight in the deep end, if that’s the case then this is the style for you. This style is hard quite hard to pull off unless you have all the perfect props and backgrounds but that shouldn’t stop you from giving it a try. I think the key to getting it right with brights is ensuring that all your props are the same tone and have the same saturation level. If you want to soften the blow slightly then brights look great on a white (or black) background, that way the colour really stands out.
So, there we have it, a few styles that you might like to give a try. Just remember that colour is an ever-changing beast, I have touched on a few ideas here but the options really are endless. I find experimentation is the key, if you’re not sure try it out, you might get a dud but you might also create something stunning.