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Mobile Phone Photography Tips on Colour

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Category: Creative

Mobile Photography 101: Using Colour - Taylor Jennings shows us how we can use colour to create stunning photographs.

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Article by freelance writer Taylor Jennings. Feel free to follow him on Twitter or checkout techiedoodlers.com.

"The purest and most thoughtful minds are those which love colour the most." - John Ruskin (English poet, writer and artist)

Smartphones are slowly becoming a popular tool for photographers and enthusiast alike. However, in order to get that perfect shot, you must first understand the basics of photography, starting with the colour.

Colours are part of our everyday world and they can make or break the mood of our photographs. Darren Rowse of the Digital Photography School said: "when you understand how colour works in digital photography you can then use different colours to create very different feelings and emotions in the photo itself."

If you're planning to bring life to your photographs, we have outlined some basic tips that can help you use visual design element to its fullest potential.

Samsung S4

Understanding The Colour Wheel

This simple tool helps us to understand the relationship between the different colour groups. The primary group is composed of Red, Green and Blue (RGB). The secondary colour group is made by combining the primary colours, which results in cyan, magenta, and yellow. The tertiary group is the result of mixing a primary and secondary colour.

It is important for a mobile photographer to have the best equipment in order to understand this concept.  According to O2, the iPhone with Retina Display gives you an amazing view of the colours of your subjects. Download a colour wheel app and use it as a reference before composing your shot. Let’s look closer at the principles that you can learn when using this method.

Similar Colours

The analogous colour scheme is popular because of its appealing and calming effect. In order to achieve this, you need to look for a subject that represents three colours that are placed side-by-side on the colour wheel. Example of this scheme is red, brown and orange.

As pleasing as it is to the eye, this scheme often lacks contrast and may make your photographs look flat. If you want to try using this method, you may want to use an add-on lens to separate your subject from the background.

You can also try using a monochromatic approach to this technique by connecting photographs that are in the same hue.

Harmonize with Matching Colours

The use of complementary colours can make your subject stand out from its background. Try to photograph red flowers against its natural green surroundings and see how the balance of colours lends life to the image. This technique also applies to still-life photography.

Photo by Joshua Waller 

Colour Temperature

Depth of field is a common concern for phoneographers. Most devices don’t offer any control over the aperture or opening of the lens. You can solve this small dilemma by using different colour temperatures in your images.

Warm colours stand out against a cold background. This method gives the illusion that the subject is closer to the viewer compared to the colder hue backdrop. This adds a more welcoming tone to your images compared to the somber mood of cooler colours.


Saturation is a simple term that refers to the brightness, vividness and intensity of colours. In order to give your images the power they need, try to compose a shot wherein one colour dominates over the other hues found in your scene. Try to photograph a dull and vivid colour and see which one is more appealing. Images with brighter and intense colours attract the attention of more people.

Knowing the basics isn't enough unless you practice it. Thus, take your smartphone with you and put everything into practice. Capture your surroundings and see it burst with life as you discover the wonderful world of coloured photography. 

About the Author

Taylor Jennings is a freelance writer who's interested in the latest tech, music and food. His other passions include playing video games and collecting obscure memorabilia. Feel free to follow him on Twitter or checkout techiedoodlers.com.

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