Finding Your Voice: Day 6. Color.

Welcome to Day 6 in: “Finding Your Voice… 10 Days, 10 Concepts To Help You Find Your Photographic Voice.” 

Today, it’s all about…


Oh I do loves me some color! This is yet another deep topic with many facets to it. And once again, we’re approaching it from YOUR preferences. What you, your heart, spirit and soul all love in the way of color.

So the blank to fill in:

My favorite color palette is__________

Now, If you’re going to think about color, it helps to understand a bit about it.  Again, a BIG topic – way bigger than we’re going to get into here,  Adobe Color CC is an awesome tool. It used be called Kular, then Adobe bought it.  I learned about it from a web designer years ago and still love it and refer to it. It’s interactive, which makes it super simple to mess about and discover all kinds of nuances and combinations of color. You can also learn what complementary colors are, shades of color, monochromatic colors and a bunch more. It doesn’t explain alot; but it shows you plenty.

This sort of thing comes in handy when you’re considering composition. Say you’re standing by a fabulous lake at sunset. The sky that night is this beautiful combo of gold and blue. You now know that the gold and blue tones of the sunset and lake/sky are complementary – which means they naturally have the greatest contrast with each other. This gives an image pop. It’s also an extremely pleasing color combinations to most people. It certainly is to you – you’re totally digging the moment! So you compose a shot with the sky is mirrored perfectly in the lake, which gives it a double dose awesomeness.

Or say you’re shooting some lupin against green grass. From the color wheel, you know which shade of purple/pink contrasts best with which shade of green. You angle yourself into the right position – and bam! You got a winner.

What about you?

Ok, so color wheels aside, which technicolors you jones for the most? Maybe you like bright, primary colors… or perhaps you’re a muted tones person. Greyscale or softer color tones. This may seem perfectly obvious to you – but it isn’t to everyone! And preferences DO change sometimes. At any point, it’s helpful to know what you love in the way of color – or the absence of it – to know what sorts of environments, lighting conditions, combinations of elements are most likely to offer it. Then go git it!


Again, using myself as my example (easiest, because I’ve spent alot of time thinking about these things.)… these may give you some ideas about how I’m approaching this topic.

First, there tends to be alot of gold/warm tones in my work. That’s because they feel good to me. My body likes being around them – and they my heart feels happy. I conveys a message of hope I feel about life too – which is another aspect of my artist’s voice.

Naturally, I love it with blue because of the way the colors snap. New York City.

June Over Manhattan

I also like golds in combination with chocolate browns. New York City.

Summer In The City

As you can imagine, I can NEVER get enough of fall colors! Truckee, CA.


Including the reds, which I also love. Truckee, CA.

Golden Crimson

Then there are the blues and blue-greens. They make me nuts. Especially the ones in Lake Tahoe, which change with the light. The next 3 are all of Tahoe, at various times of day:

The Lady's Got Curves


Tahoe Rocks Blue


Banking On a Glimpse Of You

A complete saturation of color in the air pure magic to me. It’s partly to do with time of day…
Sunrise at Zabriskie Point, Death Valley, CA.

Zabriskie Dawn

But it also happens alot during our monsoon season (September-ish). It has to do with the clouds that form at that time of year – but also the moisture in the air. The light and color just seems to soak into the atmosphere itself, unlike any other time of year. When it does, it feels like you could scoop it up with a spoon. I schedule my world so that I don’t miss it!

Valley of Fire, NV.

One Hot Idea

Lake Tahoe, NV.

Leading Back

Lake Tahoe, NV.

There's a Peach Parfait in the Sky

Lake Tahoe, NV.

Open Arms

Then there’s this combo: the blues, pinks and golds together are like some kind of wild color palette from another world. Lake Tahoe, CA.

West Shore Wonder

This exact combination of white and blue. Be still my heart! Lake Tahoe, CA

Snowy Day At the Pier

This combo of blues, white and browns = magic. Lake Tahoe, CA.

Round Here

Red accents are awesome. Croton-On-Hudson, NY

Radiant Forest

Purple and green bouncing off of each other… yummmm!  Victoria, B.C.

Triple Pirouette

This arrangement of shades, whatever you want to call it.. is mesmerizing to me. Santa Cruz, CA.

Teardrop Carousel

Here’s what’s interesting. By now, even if you didn’t know me, you might be getting a feel for who I am and my point of view simply from the colors I prefer. They’re more primary than muted, clean, fresh, vibrant, often complementary combinations. These are part of my voice and my outlook in life… made visible simple through colors.

Now, what are your  favorite colors and color combos? Start noticing what you’re drawn to… and how you can build interesting compositions that showcase them!

Miss a day? No worries… they’re all right here:

Finding Your Voice, Part 1: My favorite way to feel.
Finding Your Voice, Part 2: My favorite time of day.
Finding Your Voice, Part 3: My favorite light.
Finding Your Voice, Part 4: My favorite texture.
Finding Your Voice, Part 5: My favorite element.
Finding Your Voice, Part 6: My favorite color.
Finding Your Voice, Part 7: My favorite movement.
Finding Your Voice, Part 8: My favorite shapes & patterns.
Finding Your Voice, Part 9: My favorite view.
Finding Your Voice, Part 10: My story.