Document seven color schemes utilizing modern photography. Explain your image selections and describe color balance within each composition as it applies to each color scheme.


Color Scheme Examples

Monochromatic colors are all the colors, tints, tones, and shades of a single hue. The energy of such a color scheme is more subtle and peaceful due to a lack of contrast of hue.


Analogous colors are groups of colors that are adjacent to each other on the color wheel, with one being the dominant color, which tends to be a primary or secondary color, and two on either side complementing, which tend to be tertiary.


Complementary colors are pairs of colors which, when combined in the right proportions, produce white or black. When placed next to each other, they create the strongest contrast and reinforce each other. On the color wheel, complementary colors are directly opposite each other.

Split Complementary

The split complementary scheme uses a color and the two colors adjacent to its complementary hue. This provides high contrast without the strong tension of the complementary scheme.


A triadic color scheme uses colors that are evenly spaced around the color wheel. Triadic color harmonies tend to be quite vibrant, even if you use pale or unsaturated versions of your hues. To use a triadic harmony successfully, the colors should be carefully balanced – let one color dominate and use the two others for accent.

Double Complementary

This tetradic scheme uses four hues arranged into two complementary color pairs in a square format positioning all four colors evenly spaced around the color wheel.


The rectangle color scheme uses four colors arranged into two complementary pairs. Tetradic color schemes work best when one color is dominant.

Photographic Examples

Monochromatic Color Scheme

Monochromatic Color Scheme

My monochromatic image consists of a yellow-orange hue including shades and tints. Shadows deepen into an almost black hue and highlights brighten to near white levels but the entire composition is merely various levels of yellow-orange.

Analogous Color SchemeAnalogous Color Scheme

To demonstrate an analogous design, I chose to display four cool hues including blue, blue-violet, violet and red-violet. While blue-violet dominates this image, obvious signs of pure blue and violet abound and most of the accent hues are variations of red-violet.

Complementary Color SchemeComplementary Color Scheme

I could have chosen any combination of a primary and secondary color to display complements: red and green, yellow and violet, blue and orange. Tertiary and secondary hue combinations could also have been utilized but I chose to use blue and orange in this study. I wanted to take photographs of naturally occurring hues but in this case I included a common man-made object into my design.

Split Complementary Color SchemeSplit Complementary Color Scheme

My split complementary composition utilizes green as its primary hue and is complemented by red-orange and red-violet. The overall impression of pink given by using red-orange in darker portions of the image and applying a lighter red-violet hue as highlights enables the various shades and tints of green to stand out in the design.

Triadic Color SchemeTriadic Color Scheme

To exhibit a true triadic scheme, each hue used should be evenly spaced around the color wheel. With this thought in mind, I chose the tree primary colors: red, yellow and blue. Red became my dominate hue while blue and yellow accented the composition.

Double Complementary Color SchemeDouble Complementary Color Scheme

The term double complementary is just a version of the tetradic color scheme in which the hues utilized are laid out in a square pattern around the color wheel. I used red-violet, orange, yellow-green and blue to create my double complementary color scheme. By allowing the orange and blue hues to spread out within the image, the red and green areas sprinkled around the design create movement.

Tetradic Color SchemeTetradic Color Scheme

Another pattern that contains two pair of complementary hues is the rectangular tetradic scheme. In my composition I chose red, orange, green and blue. One hue of each pair acts as a dominate color while separated by their complement which is used in larger amounts but greatly dispersed throughout the image.

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