Most photographers stick to complementary or analogous colors while using colors for image composition. Many photographers often forget they can use triadic colors in their photo compositions.
One main reason is that many don’t know how to correctly find the triadic colors and use them. Don’t worry. In this guide, I will show you how to use triadic colors in your pictures.
What do you mean by Triadic Colors?
Triadic colors are three colors that are evenly spaced in the color wheel. They are called triads because these three colors together work well together.
The distance of any of the triadic colors from the other two colors will be the same in the color wheel.
A color wheel shows the visual representation of colors arranged according to their hues.
What is Triadic Color Composition in Photography?
When you use triadic colors on the different elements in the image, it is called triadic color composition in photography.
These three colors help to make the scene pleasing to the viewer’s eye. It can happen naturally, or you can create a scene with these three colors artificially.
If you are a beginner, you may find it difficult to see these colors in the scene.
How to Find the Triadic Colors?
There are two ways to find the triadic colors. They are given below.
1. Manual Method
In the manual method also, there are two ways of doing it.
1.1 First Manual Method
You need to find the center of the color wheel first.
After that, you need to draw three lines of equal length from this center, and the angles between each of the two successive lines must be 120 degrees.
The endpoint of the three lines will show you the three triadic colors.
You can place your main color (main subject color) at the end of any of these three lines. The endpoints of the other two lines will show you the other two colors to complete the triad.
1.2 Second Manual Method
In the second method, you need to draw an equilateral triangle inside the color wheel with the center of the wheel as the center of the triangle. An Equilateral triangle is a triangle in which the length of all three sides is equal.
The three corners of the triangle will show you the three triadic colors.
You can get different color combinations by rotating the triangle and by changing the side length. The center of the triangle must coincide with the color wheel center.
2. Through Website
It is tough to choose triadic colors manually from the color wheel.
You can always use the color wheel from Adobe to select the triad of colors for your image. It will make life easy for you. It will help you save valuable time.
Select the “Triad” color option from the left side after opening the website.
Now, you can see the three lines pointing toward the triadic colors. There will be a couple of colors in two lines. It shows the light and dark options of the color that you can choose with the third color.
You can get the exact RGB value for each color from this site.
How to Select the Triadic Colors for Photography?
Most of the time, the option to select the triadic colors for your composition is possible if you do a photo shoot with your subject in an indoor environment.
It is tough to get a mixture of these three colors in nature. It requires some practice and good observational skills.
The above image of the Scarlet Macaw bird is a good example of triadic colors that you can find in nature. You can see the prominent red, blue, and yellow colors on its body.
Suppose you have a subject that comes in a particular color. To use the triad colors, you need to find the other two colors to form the triad. Thus, you can select the background and props in the other two colors.
If you have the luxury of selecting the color of the main subject, you can proceed with any color of your choice.
Why Use Triadic Colors for Image Composition?
When you compose and capture an image using different colored objects, your end goal is to create a visually pleasing image.
When you select some random colored elements for the photo, it can be distracting for the viewer.
The triadic colors help to create balance and harmony in the image. Thus, it will help to create an aesthetically pleasing image for the viewer.
6 Pro Tips & Ideas for Triadic Color Composition
I will share some useful tips to help you create better images using this color composition technique.
1. Use with Other Composition Rules
To make the image more interesting, don’t restrict yourself to using the three colors alone. Try to make the composition more powerful and attractive by including other composition rules.
For example, you can use this rule along with the rule of odds. So, you can use three elements for the image, each of the elements having one of the triadic colors.
If you see the above image, you can see 3 different colored eggs. The red, yellow, and blue colors on the eggs make it a visually pleasing one, according to the triadic color composition technique.
Also, this image follows the rule of odds in photography.
2. Orange, Teal, and Pink Color Combination
Many photographers and videographers use the famous orange and teal colors in their photos and videos.
You can create a triadic color combination by adding one more color with these two colors. The third color will be pink.
You can use the variants of these three colors to make the image more appealing.
If you are a beginner, you can give it a try.
3. Red, Blue, and Yellow Color Combination
You can also go for basic color combinations like red, blue, and yellow.
Here, you can make the main subject more dominant by selecting the red color for it.
Use blue and yellow colors for the other elements in the scene.
4. For Food Photography
You can use this rule when you do food photography. The color of the main dish can be made as one of the three colors.
You can choose two other colors from the color wheel.
Try to get other props or elements in these colors to compose the image. You can capture this scene using the popular flat lay photography style or any other style.
5. For Product Photoshoots
It is quite easy to use this rule for product photoshoots. So, if you are into product photography, give it a try.
Your product will come with one predominant color. You can choose the second triad color for the background. Make sure to use the third color in the props.
6. Lighting Matters
The lighting mainly decides the look and feel of the image in the scene. Proper lighting will help to accentuate the different colors.
So, whatever type of feel you want to bring to the image, you need to use appropriate lighting.
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to photography. As a photographer, it is up to you to decide the color of objects to use in the shoot. The end goal is to make an aesthetically pleasing image.
You can go for an image composition with triadic colors if you have the flexibility of selecting the colors of the subject and other elements.
If you are interested to see more image compositions with triadic colors, you can always check on any stock photography site. You will be able to find some of the best food photography pictures, product images, and abstract images in triadic colors on these sites.