Blog: A Guide To Applying Color Theory To Your Landscape Photography

Taking excellent landscape photos isn’t just about having the right equipment, it’s also about utilizing the color theory and other techniques well. Color theory is one of the fundamental concepts in photography, as such, you need to know all about it if you want to progress in your craft. Read on to learn more about color applying color theory to your landscape photography shots.

Color Theory

Color theory is a concept in which photographers utilize colors to produce different effects. The colors are combined to create emotions, meanings, and moods in your landscape photography. This is why, before you dive into the world of landscape photography, you need to have a deep understanding of what color theory is all about.

When you know what color theory is, you’ll be able to produce beautiful photos that will pop and truly captivate an audience. Also, if color theory isn’t properly applied to a picture, it will have a negative impact on your work.

Primary Colors

The first thing that you need to learn about color theory is the three primary colors:

  • Red
  • Blue
  • Yellow

Why are these important? You can combine these colors in any arrangement to create any other color. However, when taking photos, you don’t think about how the primary colors are represented, instead, you pay attention to how these colors play out digitally. Thus, knowledge of these primary colors are a necessity.

Color Wheel

The color wheel shows the correlation of colors. Within the wheel, your primary colors, secondary colors (orange, green, purple), and tertiary colors (amber, teal, violet, vermilion, and magenta) come together in a readable format.

Creative applications are all within the color wheel, and in landscape photography, it will allow you, as the photographer, to use it as a guide. When you are familiar with the color wheel, you’ll understand how the colors interact when placed close to each other.

Complementary Colors

The complementary colors are opposite each other on the color wheel. These colors produce the sharpest contrast when combined. And when they’re near each other, it causes a visual vibration that makes a photograph “pop.” When you use complementary colors in landscape photography, you create eye-catching contrast.

Split Complementary Colors

Split complementary colors are a combination of a base color and the two colors that are adjacent to the complementary color. Using a split complementary color scheme creates colors with just the right amount of contrast. Consider this color scheme as a subtle version of complementary colors that produces a more subdued effect.

Analogous Colors

Analogous colors are colors that flow into one another. These are the colors that create harmony in photographs. For landscape photos, you can use analogous colors in groups such as vermillion, oranges, and teals. Landscape photographers also use these colors in their photos to create more depth and visual resonance.

Triad Colors

Triad colors are any three colors that are three colors apart on the color wheel. These colors produce harmonious and captivating color schemes in landscape photography without the risk of the landscape looking monotonous, as with analogous colors.


Color theory plays a significant role in landscape photography as it explores the whys and hows behind the colors in your shot. Once you’re familiar with these colors, you can capture photos with a better eye, and create stunning images even in the blandest of landscapes.

Are you looking for a talented landscape photographer in Baton Rouge, LA? Get in touch with me to see how we can help.

Posted in Landscapes.