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Primary and Complementary Color

Color is fun and can have overwhelming impact! While just about everyone takes color photos, most photos are not about color per se. Send us your images that fill the frame with a combination of primary and complementary colors. contest details

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Let's see some COLOR!

At first glance, this contest seems simple.  We take color photographs all the time.  The challenge here is to take a photo in which the subject is color - more specifically a combination of the primary colors - red, blue and yellow - with the complementary colors - orange, green and purple. 

 Click on the photo to see the full size version

Color Relationships

Let's look a couple of color wheels. The color wheel contains 12 colors, and illustrates the relationship between colors.

On the color wheel, 12 colors are separated into three distinct groups:

  • Primary colors: red, blue, and yellow. In theory, all other colors can be derived from these three.
  • Complementary colors (also called Secondary colors): green, purple, and orange. These are created by combining the primary colors.
  • Tertiary colors: red-orange, red-purple, blue-purple, blue-green, yellow-orange, and yellow-green.



Colors opposite one another on the color wheel are called complements.  Red's color complement is Green.  Blue's color complement is Orange.  Yellow's color complement is Purple.

A color and it's color complement make a powerful contrast when next to or near each other and can create a dynamic, energetic effect on a composition.  A color and it's near neighbors on the color wheel help to create more harmonious compositions.


Color Characteristics

Let's talk about some of the characteristics we associate with the primary and complementary (secondary) colors.

Red is a powerful color - the most advancing color. If you have red, blue, yellow, green, orange and purple signs at an equal distance from you, the red one will appear to be closer then the others.  Red is a color of excitement, courage and love.

Blue is a reccessive color, cool and calm.  Blue is a color of tranquility and serenity.

Yellow is another advancing color.  Yellow is associated with playfulness, happiness and ebullience.

Green, a reccessive color, is a color of harmony, hope, fertility and pride.

Orange is an advancing color.  Orange is associated with tension, energy and adventure.

Purple is the most recessive color.  Purple is a color of fantasy, magic, royalty and wealth.


Color Contest

This contest is looking for images combining primary colors (red, yellow and blue) and complementary colors (orange green and purple) in one image. Aside from the color requirements, the subject matter is open - Still life, abstract, portrait, landscape, ... virtually every subject category works.


We are looking for images that show an understanding of the Art of color.  Use color to set the tone of your image, communicate your message, excite, calm or surprise the viewer. 


So get creative, and have some fun!



Read the contest requirements

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