Category Archives: Part 3 Assignment – Colour

Assignment Three Tutor Report

Had my tutors report for the third assignment and, given my misgivings about the exercises and assignment, it was not as bad as I feared.  My comments are in Bold

Overall Comments.


In my email, I am attaching your document for you to consider changes where I have used text boxes to include the diagrams sitting alongside the photographs, as similar to your presentation on your Blog. I believe this holds the document and images together in a more cohesive fashion.

A much better way of presenting this (the document is appended below) as the thumbnails I used perhaps weren’t as visual as they could have been.   Something to bear in mind in in future submissions of the blog in a word format.

Assessment potential

‘I understand your aim is to go for the Photography Degree and that you plan to submit your work for assessment at the end of this course. From the work you have shown in this assignment, providing you commit yourself to the course, I believe you have the potential to succeed at assessment’.


Feedback on assignment

Colour harmony through complementary colours:

The first image of yellow and violet of the Violet/blue hydrangea and Californian yellow poppy are complementary colours, although you do have similar colours with blue and green and yellow and green. I have cropped the image to emphasise the violet/blue and yellow as below.





If I am honest I still prefer the original image with the further patch of lilac giving a diagonal lead in to the frame but can see that the crop works as well

The image of the blue and orange scissors stands out as complementary colours sitting opposite one another on the colour wheel. These are very striking colours in your composition and I agree there are interesting shapes in this photograph that hold the viewer’s attention.

I also liked the unnaturalness (if that makes sense) of the strong colours of the plastics.

The bottle tops make an interesting composition with these striking red and green colours and provide a good complementary image. This is a good observational shot. The following photograph of the text and background also conform to the theme. Red text showing the word ‘fear’ confirms the danger sign associated with the colour red.

Colour harmony through Similar Colours:

The strong yellow poppy heads and expanse of green cover this category of the theme and provide a soothing illustration of the younger poppy heads turning into seedpods to the right. The overall blurring of the background give the illustration depth in a three dimensional format.

The following photograph does contain the elements of similar colours but I think I would have used this particular shot in the accented category as the bright blue ball stands out dramatically against the accentuated green background.

I debated whether to use this as an accented shot and probably should have done so (or maybe gone closer in so the blue was not so much of a spot.

The album cover suits the theme where the colours almost blend into one another even though they are definitely different colours.

I thought the triumvirate of yellow green and orange went well in, as it where, steps of similar colours i.e. green/yellow and yellow/orange.  With hindsight I probably should have shot the area behind the orange lower to get a good mix of yellow and green.

Orange and green are contrasting colours, but the green and yellow flowers in the background of DSC03107 are similar.


Colour harmony through contrasting colours:

The violet orchid is in contrast to the green grass but is a complementary colour to the yellow background as it directly faces one another on the colour wheel. The orchid certainly does stand out in 3D in this shot taken in the churchyard.

The Edge shot fits nicely into this bracket as both colours of red and yellow are primary colours.

The next image of blue and yellow also consist of primary colours. It is unfortunate that the image is not equally sharp. It is fine to show one object sharp and the opposing one diffused but the blue in this case needed just a little more sharpness.

Fair point again in hindsight I should have shot this using a tripod and with a greater depth of field.

The dark purple colour of the fuchsia flower head is very striking and it contrasts heavily with other parts of the flower head. It is one of those colours that reside in between blue and violet and difficult to categorise.


Colour accent:

The yellow flower amid the green background is a good example of an accent of colour. I like the way you have composed the shot leaving a leading edge from left to right.

In the following image of the strip of yellow colour, which is an accent amid the violet background is also complementary as you have stated.


The reflection shot of folded clothes doesn’t come over, as I believe you see it. The original image may be more vivid than the one I am viewing. I have take the liberty of trying to enhance the image by increasing the vibrancy and contrast but in so doing this has caused what is known as Newton Rings on the door reflection, It does, however, bring out some further detail.





Cropr 2








This is a shame as this was my favourite image out of all the ones used in the assignment and followed on from reading about Saul Leiter.  I shall keep trying on this type of abstract image.

The last image of the red spoon stands out dramatically as an accent of colour and being red in colour it is accentuated.

Not all assignments can please, but this one does help you to look for certain patterns in colour and how they fit together or not so. It is an observational exercise that gets you thinking about the relationships regarding colour. Art and garden designers follow these patterns in their quest for the most desirable designs. It is interesting to note that colours have a distinct affinity with human reactions. Red is associated with boldness, danger and love. Blue has a calming effect. I notice you have some research on this in your Blog entries. Many large companies focus on certain colours to market their brands. Have a look at the website on Colour Psychology for more information highlighted below.

I think (and hope) that maybe I picked up more from this part of the course than I realised.  I would say why colour is not necessarily a primary driver in the images I enjoy taking I am hopeful that I will be more aware of it in future.

Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays

Keeping sketchbooks and a learning log/blog is an integral part of this and every other OCA course, not only because they constitute 20% of your marks if you choose to have your work formally assessed but they are also an excellent way to see how you are developing.


You have done some extensive research and recording in your learning log and thank you for sending me the PDF files. I imagine you will be sending the actual learning logbook for assessment, as not all the PDF files are viewable in the upright mode. Unfortunately Adobe Reader doesn’t seem to save the rotation if applied.

The format of my learning log (an A4 exercise book) makes it difficult to scan the pages the same way up and any rotation done later does not alter the file.  Its something I will have to think about in future.

Suggested reading/viewing

Useful websites to view.

I’ve had a look at this and have made it the subject of a separate entry.

Pointers for the next assignment

Applying Lighting Techniques


Have a look at these examples of students’ work for the next assignment.

Again I have had a look at these and they are discussed in my introduction to part 4.

So overall not too unhappy with the report and hopefully the next assignment will be better!



Revised Assignment:-

reworked ass 3a reworked ass 3b reworked ass 3c


Assignment three Colour

The assignment asks you to take sixteen images illustrating colour harmony both through complimentary and similar colours; colour contrast and colour accent.

I have to admit I struggled with this having done similar work (and also struggled) already for the preceding exercises.  I’m not sure whether it was a lack of creative spark, or whether I rebel against going down what to me are tightly defined roads or briefs, but I tried and failed to come up with an idea I was happy with.  There was the somewhat unimaginative ideas of going round the house, or on a walkabout down the high street, to pick up the necessary mixes of colour but I did not like, as previously, the randomness of this method as there was no thread or, for that matter, personal input.  There is some satisfaction in spotting the colour relationships around me but I wanted to have more than just a random set of photos like the earlier entry I made of the rejected shots.

I also thought about doing small extracts from the record covers I own but the brief indicates that you should try and vary the subject matter.  I looked at using a local cemetery I discovered and managed to get a few shots that as featured below (on the plus side, I can see this location as being great for some of the light shots!)

In the end I used a combination of all the above

A) Complimentary colours



Yellow and Violet I liked the way the single flower contrasts with the slightly out of focus mass of the larger flower head.


Complimentary 1









Scissors I liked the strong colours here and thought the curves were interesting.

Complimentary 2










I liked the strong red making a strong image out of a relatively mundane subject.

Complimentary 3




The pale green reinforces the red text.




B) Similar colours


The strong yellows are offset by the green buds which while also green still stand out from the green background

similar 1









The brightness of the ceramic blue ball stands out against the plain green


similar 2




Detail from album cover I haven’t done a simplified version of this but I liked how the green pattern is bought out by the yellow background.




There’s three adjacent colours here orange green and yellow. I like that the far yellow flower is an echo of the middle of the orange one and there is trail of yellow up to it




similar 4



C) Contrasting colours

The violet of the plant contrasts with the yellow and green of the grass and that, the small depth of field and the vertical shape makes it stand out in the shot.



contrasting 1




The use of yellow lettering on a red background seems to be a common background especially food shops and of course the post office its a very eye catching combination.

contrasting 2



I liked the fall of light on this, both accentuating and reflecting the yellow but darkening the blue.


contrasting 3






I find it interesting that this Fuschia contains two strongly contrasting colours. This makes it a highly visible flower to us, and I can only assume it the same for pollinators.


contrasting 4



D) Accented colours


The spot of yellow is emphasised, in my view, by being on the edge of the green strip.




accented 1




The complimentary yellow strip to the violet background accentuates the gap between the two sides on this record cover.


accented 2




My favourite shot out of all of the ones I took for this assignment. Its the reflection of folded up clothes in the gloss paint of a door and I like that the ere is only a hint of colour and that the viewer would not know where that colour is derived from.

accented 3







Red is obviously a strong standout colour and here more so against the plain brown of the other implements.

accented 4




I think this is my worst assignment to date and, for the reasons stated above, did not really enjoy it.  I think the main problem was that I struggled to input a personal voice into the both the exercises (with the exception maybe of the tablets and the medal ribbons) as well as the assignment.  As far as the assessment criteria are concerned I would make the following points:-

Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills

Like the previous assignment I think there the use of different lenses and settings employed. There is a mix of external and internal shots and I think I’ve used the light in both effectively as well as using angles/composition to get the combination(s) I was looking for.

Quality of Outcome

While I think  I’ve taken shots that cover the brief of the assignment I would repeat that if I could have found an effective, and involving, thread to hang the images on I think it would have made for a more coherent, and better, assignment submission.  It was a source of frustration to me that I could not come up with an idea that inspired me like the Moore sculpture in the previous assignment.

Demonstration of Creativity

This is I think the weakest area in terms of the assignment.  I found myself lacking in this respect and conscious of employing some easier options.  As indicated above the only shot I am pleased with on an aesthetic level is the abstract shot of the colours reflected in the door.


I have not been reading specifically for this exercise but have been looking at various documentaries on the subject of colour as outlined in my learning log.   Its also fair to say that while I haven’t applied his technique of colour photography to my own I have enjoyed discovering Saul Leiter’s work and maybe this will have some impact on how I take shots (particularly in terms of street photography in the future.  Whats interesting to me is that on this course there have been a few photographers that I have found more interesting than other and, as a result, have been keen to know more about them.  Leiter is definitely in that category and I will be looking further.

I would also add that the exercises and assignment has made me a lot more aware of colour relationships – possibly not that difficult given my previous lack of knowledge on the subject – and it will be something I will be aware of, and hopefully incorporating a lot more, in my photography.