5 Creative Ways to Find the Magic of Color

Travel Photography

magic of color
Written by Karin van Mierlo
Karin is a pro photographer with a bachelor's degree in photography bringing 25+ years of experience to your table. She is the driving force behind Photography Playground and loves to write and teach about all things photography related. She is the developer of the Fearless FrameWork, a holistic method of learning photography.

Magic of Color

Whether I am traveling or living my everyday life in a gray Northern European city, one of the things I try to do is to stay open to the magic of color. True, I do admit that it is easier in the more exotic and colorful parts of the earth.

So, when I travel, I take on a photo project and completely lose myself in photographing the pale green of a wall, or the copious pink of a bougainvillea. It is a feast for my eyes.

The beauty is that when I get back home something in my perspective has changed. I am more open to the colors around me in my everyday life and that is something to treasure.

I would like to inspire you to open your eyes for the everyday and the exotic colors you encounter on your way.

Begin to observe, notice and collect all the colorful nuances. To help you along your way I have put together a few tips to direct your view. Colors and concepts to look for. Because they are all around you, waiting to be caught by your camera or your smartphone.

#1: Look for the Tiny Spot

Every once in a while one can be overwhelmed by a vibrant, super-saturated, energetic and abundant amount of color. It is the grand gesture of colors. You want to put it all in your frame and revel in its exuberant beauty. Grand gestures are easy to spot. There is no need to look for them, you will trip over them.

Looking for the tiny spot of color can be very rewarding. It may not be obvious at first sight but I’m sure it’s there. It’s always there. The little dash of color that cheers up a dull and monotonous corner of the world. Look for it and you will find it!

color photography inspiration, color in photography, examples of color in photography, photography of color, photography colours | Photo: Sardinia, Italy | Copyright Karin van Mierlo, Photography Playground

#2: Colors Connecting

Color does not exist by itself. It has the need, like everything and everyone, for connection. It wants to associate with a different color, or to connect with the same color but of another material.

Through the combination a contrast, a pattern, a connection, or a similarity becomes visible.

For example, the green plant and the blue tiles in the image below are, although different in color and material, in a number of other aspects related. They have the same intensity of color and they possess a similarity in pattern and degree of repetition.

color photography inspiration, color in photography, examples of color in photography, photography of color, photography colours | Photo Blue tiles in Tavira, Portugal | Copyright Karin van Mierlo, Photography Playground

#3: The White Canvas

They say white is not a color. That may be so, but I do experience white in all its nuances as a color.

The thing with white is that it is never just white, it takes on different shades.

Depending on the time of day, a white wall can become a soft yellow or a grayish blue.

Old age and weather conditions leave their traces in a dance of white notes. Shadows form an ever-changing and random pattern.

A white wall is like a blank canvas making its surroundings visible.

color photography inspiration, color in photography, examples of color in photography, photography of color, photography colours | Photo: White wall in Tavira, Portugal | Copyright Karin van Mierlo, Photography Playground

#4: Colors Writing Poetry

Personally, I love dirty, faded colors a lot.

The kind of colors you cannot describe with one word. Like a green with a hint of blue. A pale, soft yellow with a green undertone. The faded peach pink that ends up in an icy gray-blue. Basically, every color that sounds like a poem. You need to look for them. They invite you with their soft voices to see them and to love them.

Discover them:

The faded

the whispering

the poetic colors

color photography inspiration, color in photography, examples of color in photography, photography of color, photography colours | Photo: Saltpans in Tavira, Portugal | Copyright Karin van Mierlo, Photography Playground

#5: Mother Nature’s Light Bulb

I can not write an article on color without addressing the biggest and brightest light bulb we all share.

It may very well be the most colorful spectacle mother nature has to offer us. The sunrise with its limitless pastels and the sunset in exuberant red and orange.

The beauty never ceases to amaze me, but to photograph a sunrise or a sunset is a challenging thing. Trying to capture its magnificence is usually a disappointing enterprise.

Check out this post about Stunning Sunset Photography or this one about Mastering Natural Light Photography.

color photography inspiration, color in photography, examples of color in photography, photography of color, photography colours | Photo: Sunset in Sardinia, Italy | Copyright Karin van Mierlo, Photography Playground

I hope these words and observations have inspired you to go look for the color in your life. You can do that anytime and anyplace. Whether you are traveling or on your way to pick up your kid from school. There is always an opportunity to look for the colors surrounding you and to let them in.

Have fun finding them!

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