How to Use Contrast in Fashion Photography

“How to use color in fashion photography” is a frequently asked question by both amateurs and professionals.

A lot of people have tried to use color in their photographs, either to enhance the subject or to provide it with a certain drama, but most of them end up being unsatisfied with the result. The reason for this is not all photographers are aware of the limitations of color. Color can be used to great effect in certain circumstances but when it is not appropriate the result is usually very disappointing. This article will show you how to use color correctly in fashion photography.

Can be dynamic

Before we move on, it is important to point out that color photos are not made equal. Black and white photos can be highly dynamic and can convey a lot of information through their pictures. On the other hand, color photos do not have that advantage. Color photos can have the same drama as black and white photos but they cannot convey the same versatility and options. This is why color photos should only be used to enhance the beauty of the models or clothes and never to hide or disguise the models’ flaws.

Keep contrast low

So, how do you use color in your photos to make them more effective? Most professional photographers will agree that you should keep the contrast low. As a rule of thumb, try to avoid having your pictures colorized beyond a medium-contrast with the base tone of the photograph. If you need to bring out a specific shade of color in the background, then you can use highlights with your contrast level way too low.

If you are going for an interesting effect, then use black and white images. However, keep in mind that the contrast should be quite low. In general, pure black is not suitable for fashion photographs because it makes everything too dark. Pure white, however, can work if you let yourself be carried away with the colors.

Use grey color

You can also go for a gray-shade appearance if you have a very dark background. Grey-shaded images offer an interesting effect that is similar to what you get when you put on black-and-white film. You may find it a bit monotonous at first because gray is hard to capture naturally in photos. You can experiment with different shades of grey and see which ones look the best. The color will usually stand out against the background so it will not distract from the photo.

Play with contrast

Another way to use color in your photographs to make them more impactful is to play with contrast. You can use black and white images as much as possible. You can add highlights in black and white and this will really add to the dynamic range of the image. Yet, you should keep in mind that highlighting a single color will tend to make everything else in the image become less noticeable. Also, make sure that you don’t just use black and white to fill up every frame in your image. You can add texture and depth by playing with colors or you can even use multiple colors.

If you are going to use color in a fashion photo, make sure that you don’t do it too excessively. There is nothing worse than seeing a huge splash of blue in a photo. This will distract from your photo and from the viewer. Balance is important so don’t overdo it. A little splashing here and there is far better than having a sea of blue.

Remember

Your goal with your photography is to take beautiful pictures. The only way that you will achieve that goal is by knowing how to use color effectively in your photographs. Don’t be afraid to try new things and to explore different colors. The end result will certainly be worth it.