Category Archives: composition

Green is the Colour that Should Always be Seen

conifer forest

Who doesn’t love the colour green? It’s a bringer of hope when the first shoots pop up from germinating seeds. It’s diverse in the seemingly endless variety of shade and tone in the tree canopies, the garden borders, the verges and the hedgerows. It’s fruitful and fertile – even if it’s the lawn needing mowing yet again. Green appetises on the plate in summer salads and winter leaves. A green light sets you free, a green wall calms your soul. It’s beloved of the eco-warrior, it’s my favourite, and it’s the colour that every other hue wants to be. Yes, they are green with envy.

I wondered who decided red in the colour of danger?

I do like colour in photographs

Jennifer Bourn reflects on the meaning of ‘green’

Who Decided Red Means Danger? Reflections on the Colour Red

If red colour was a dog, it would be a barking Alsatian. Red is the colour that people go both when they’re angry and when they’re in the throes of passion. It’s the colour of the boy racer’s throaty sports-car and the warning colour of the poisonous berry. ‘Roses are red’, so are shiny apples and plump tomatoes. But if noses are red, then the photographer needs Adobe Photoshop and the subject needs AA. Unless it’s Rudolf the Reindeer. Red is the colour of the sky at night that gives shepherds delight, but it spells danger if put in a light.

Red is a shouty colour, it makes its presence felt, you know it’s there. Eyes will snap to the red thing in a photograph like a compass needle finds north. Which is great if the red thing is also the subject of the picture, but a hopeless distraction if it’s not.

“Red protects itself. No colour is as territorial. It stakes a claim, is on the alert against the spectrum.” (Derek Jarman)

“A thimbleful of red is redder than a bucketful.” (Henri Matisse)

“Nothing attracts attention like a red dress.” (Laura Bush)

photographs containing the colour red

“Put on your red shoes, and dance the blues.” (David Bowie)




Colours can make a photograph

Photographer and writer Tony Northrup explains colour science. (Really well) (I understood it)

Jacob Oleson writes on the meaning of red.


What’s so great about leading lines?

Edvard Munch, The Scream. Lithograph, 1895. CC BY 4 The Munch Museum.

Leading lines capture the gaze of the viewer and then lead them by the hand into your picture. They might be ruts in a road, ripples in the sand or tracks under a train. Almost any line, hard or soft can set a trail for the eye to follow. The lines might be more like a ‘zone’ – a transition between land and water, dark and light or one colour to another. Leading lines are the easiest of compositional tools – they give a picture depth you dive into, or take you irresistibly to the subject of the picture just as surely as Holmes follows the clues to the culprit. If artists like Munch use leading lines, mere photographers should too!

Bent is Best

The best leading lines to my eye are those with a curve, sensuously meandering this way, then that, roaming through the picture, unhurried but always certain in its eventual destination destination.



A good background can completely transform a portrait, the leading lines can emphasise or frame the subject, it can catch or sometimes contrast with personality that shines from the eyes.

If you’d like a portrait photograph, get in touch. More portrait photographs.