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Food Photography Adventure - Lesson 1: The Color Wheel
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Food Photography Adventure  -  Lesson 1: The Color Wheel

The first breakthrough in my quest to take better photographs of my food happened when I started writing a series on my blog about dark chocolate mousse. The series features a different dark chocolate mousse recipe each month for 2013.

Not only had I never ever made dark chocolate or any other kind of mousse before, I had never considered how I would bring out a brown-looking food and make it look as wonderful as it would surely end up tasting.

What to do?

I grabbed my husband's color wheel so I could find out what color this particular mousse would look best with. I'd already had some success using the color wheel when I revamped my blog design by changing the banner art and color coordinating the background, links and other color options. Without the color wheel I would have chosen colors that were close to being compatible, but they wouldn't have had the "pulled together" look that I got with the color wheel.

Color wheels are fun to use and they usually have the basic principals of blending and contrasting colors right on the wheel. The one I used has a guide to mixing colors on one side and on the other side is how to create complementary color relationships. That's what I used.

Let me say here, that I am not strictly a rule-follower when it comes to aesthetics. I always go by my own sense of what looks good and what creates the message or feeling that I want to convey. But using something like a color wheel can help get you started and let's you see some possibilities you may not have realized yourself.

In this case my chocolate mousse was a particular medium brown with a hint of reddishness and the pure colors on the outside of the color wheel did not include any brown at all. I found, though, that the yellow-orange section showed me a shade of brown which was not exactly the shade of my mousse but was along the same lines. Next to it was the orange section which had a reddish brown shade. I decided that my dark chocolate mousse was somewhere in between so I moved the arrow of my color wheel around and discovered a triad of colors I thought would work.

A "triad" is "a color scheme in which three colors are equally spaced from each other, "stated the print on the wheel. I suppose this equal distancing makes the colors have a "Color Relationship." (Also a term used on my color wheel.)

Well okay then! The colors that might make my mousse look scrumptiousest were shades of purple and green. Now what? I've gotta come up with purple and green and somehow use it to show off Miss January Dark Chocolate Mousse.

This is definitely beyond the action of merely taking a picture. I am now in full Photo Shoot mode!

I came up with a gorgeous silk scarf that I'd gotten for my birthday and for bling, a bright green sprig of mint leaves. I set the stage, brought in the talent (Miss January) and took my shots. I did achieve my goal of bringing out the mousse by using bright complementary colors found on the color wheel. The winning photo was very pleasing and shows up my mousse very well on the blog post. My "photo shoot" did help bring more visitors to the blog!


Street Talk

Joan S  

Know what you mean Patty, about good photography and the right colors to compliment the food. When it comes to food and graphic art, you need good pictures. And you have to style food pictures. So far, I've been hiring professionals to take pictures of paintings for me. It gets expensive, but they have the equipment and know how. If you can take your own, that's wonderful.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Hello Joan! You found me here in a new category! You're so right about good pictures! I am learning a lot about this and now I am taking my own photos for my blog 90% of the time. But I'm certainly no pro. I have a lot to learn and I love the challenge. Thank you so much for coming by and commenting!

Reply
  about 9 years ago
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