Yellow Color Meaning
Daffodils, forsythia, buttercups, lemons, bumble bees, tulips, butter, bananas, ducks, sunflowers, taxis, “third prize,” sunshine, the road not taken, yellow submarine, yellow brick road, pencils.
Few colors have yellow’s ambivalence. Sometimes the hue (another word for color) evokes energy, spirituality, hope, happiness, warmth, sunlight, and enlightenment and at other times, yellow color connotes envy, danger, sickness, madness and deceit.
Yellow, the lightest of colors, has long been enamored by artists. The works of Vincent Van Gogh, Monet, Cezanne transverse the yellow spectrum ranging from canary yellow, lemon chiffon and gold to ochre and raw sienna. Like many painters, photographers celebrate yellow — it is our natural light paint brush.
With Van Gogh’s painting “Rain – La Pluie” in mind, (having seen it at the Philadelphia Museum or Art), I photographed this field of sunflowers in the rain. (If you look closely you will see the rain scratching the foreground). I created a yellow border to frame the image.
The afternoon light in my bedroom is a photographer’s dream. I have fun setting up still lives and have been doing this for years. Canon 5 D M II; Canon 24-105 mm f/4L @ 58 mm; f/5 @ 1/80, ISO 1250, manual exposure mode. I did not have time to set up a tripod as I knew the glow would last only minutes. I raised the ISO to a fast speed to capture the dancing sunlight. This image is straight out of the camera, (no post processing), and a wonderful example of yellow light.
Yellow Color Theory
Yellow is a pigment primary and a light secondary. It is a warm color and sits adjacent to orange and red on the color wheel. Violet is its complement. Yellow stimulates the nervous system, encourages communication, but can cause fatigue and eyestrain. Yellow often energizes and for many, seeing the color yellow awakens their inner child. Consider the properties of yellow I have discussed and work the color strategically into your compositions and empower your photography.
Join me for my online 4-week photography class, All About Color to learn about color properties, the color wheel, and how to enhance your compositions using color theory and color psychology. I will also be offering the sequel, More About Color this July and October.
Photographing Children Naturally
The Art of Self Portraiture
More About Color
The online photography classes run every four weeks. Sign up today and take your photography to the next level.
Hope to see you in class.
|This post was originally published in April 2012 and has been completely updated for comprehensiveness and added insights.|