Today I want to talk about one of my favorite topics: Color Theory!  The use of color & using a color story throughout an entire shoot can be really important.  I recently did a shoot with an amazing male model, Akino Yamal, where I really got to focus on color theory to help tell a story.  This was another passion project of mine and I’m so excited to share what we did together.

When we think of color theory, we often think of the obvious – contrasting colors coming to life through clothing.  But you can tell a color story that’s unique and eye catching without it having to be super obvious.  You can pull colors from all different elements of the shoot.  You can pull it in through location or the sky even and the way you use the light.  Or if you’re using makeup, you can pull it in that way.  Once you’ve figured out what colors you want to focus on, look for ways you wouldn’t normally use to bring that color in.

Let’s talk about what I mean.  With the Akino shoot, we shot at Venice Beach and out in the desert at Vasquez Rocks – two very very different locations.  At first sight, you wouldn’t necessarily see these two places fitting into an obvious color story, but they both helped tell the color story I wanted to tell throughout the shoot.  When concepting for this shoot, we decided we wanted to use strong colors of neon orange and yellow, along with blues, bright red/orange and neutral tans to offset the bold choices.  (These are not color choices I would typically choose to focus on).  But once we nailed down this vision, I looked for interesting and unique ways to bring them in and you can see all of these within the images.

For example, the blue of the sky is a big contributing factor in all 4 looks.  This helps keep the shoot cohesive.  The two looks we shot at Vasquez Rocks are very different looks.  One is toned down with a lot of beige and purples and blues.  While the other is bright neon orange and yellow but with consistent earth tones of the Vasquez Rocks to tie these images in with the other outfit.  Additionally, this location also ties nicely with the 2nd location of Venice Beach where we had a concrete skatepark and sports courts.  Here we tied in pops of neon yellow with his socks and bright neon blue, red, and yellow in the Fox Racing Supreme outfit.  I also shot against a bright orange wall that we found while we were down there.

So as you can see, it all ties together.   It all looks cohesive even though we shot at two very different locations with very different looks and wardrobe.  But they all tie into this specific color story.  Bright pops of neon again blue or beige backgrounds.

As I’ve mentioned before, passion projects are really important to me as a professional photographer.  They are the best way for me to experiment.  In this case, it was so fun to focus on color and to shoot with a male model.  I don’t usually shoot with male models or use bright neon colors in my photography, so it was another way for me to stretch and grow.

For your next passion project, I challenge you to experiment with color theory and see what interesting and unique ways you can incorporate your palette into the story. You might just be amazed at what you can achieve!




Akino Yamal | Passion Project

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