In food photography, like in others styles, colors, along with light, play an important role or even the most important role. Colors can send a mood, attract attention in a certain way, can make food look more fresh or obsolete or send heat or cold sensation. By selecting the right color scheme, you can create an ambiance of elegance, warmth or tranquility, or you can make the person which looks at your photo to feel the taste of food. Colors can be your most powerful design element if you learn how to use them in an effective way.
cool and warm colors
For example, colors can be divided into two main categories: warm colors and cool colors. The warm colors are widely used when we want to make, let say, the bread or the pizza to look hot. The worm colors create a yellow and a little red follow. Also, with this type of colors, we can create a feeling of afternoon or morning time. On the other side we can use cool colors for shooting cocktails or other similar drinks with or without ice, white cheese, when shooting fish or other similar seafood and so on. With this type of colors we can create a slightly blue atmosphere that is useful if we want to create a cold period like winter. White, black and gray are considered to be neutral colors.

About complementary colors

These types of colors are opposite each other as you can see in the image. They create a high contrast with a vibrant look especially when are used at full saturation. But beware, if this colors are not managed well it can create an ugly picture, very hard to watch! I also suggest not using more than three types of colors.

complementary colors

About analogous colors

Analogous colors are colors that are next to each other like in image. This arrangement is often found in nature and create pleasing and harmonious feelings for the human eye. A good example is in fall season, when leaves are tinted red and gold colors. I prefer this type of scheme. We use one color to dominate the scene, a second for support and a third color we used as an accent along with the black, white or gray. You can find a lots of examples in our food portfolio. Also in the example when we shoot cheese with tomato you can see that I did not use more than three main colors.

Analog colors

About triadic colors

This scheme uses colors that are evenly spaced around the color wheel as you can see in the image. Triadic colors tend to create a vibrant atmosphere. One color dominates the scene and the other two colors are used for accent.

triadic colors

There are also other types of such schemes like square color scheme, split-complementary scheme, rectangle scheme and so on. You can find a lot of information on the Internet or in other specialty books.

In conclusion, my advice is to choose colors carefully, without making abuse of them. I believe that three colors are sufficient in most situations. Choose warm colors or cool colors depending on the message / feeling you want to convey. And, again, don’t forget: practice is the most important thing that you can do for improve your skills !

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