Celisse Elaine Photography | Chic and Unique : Color Theory & Coordinating Your Wardrobe

Chic and Unique : Color Theory & Coordinating Your Wardrobe

March 06, 2017  •  3 Comments



Discover chic and unique ways to fashionably color coordinate your wardrobe for photos and décor per Sir Isaac Newton's theory of the color wheel.



Interactive Color Wheel

"Click Above"

Developed in 1666 by Sir Isaac Newton & was the basis for color theory.  


In 1666, Sir Isaac Newton was the first to understand the rainbow and how it refracts white light with a prism creating the colors red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet.  AKA- “ROY G BIV.” Prisms cause light of different colors to refract differently leaving the prism at various angles creating a rainbow. The spinning of a circular color wheel tricks the human eye to see the color white, where all light is stemmed from.  Light is responsible for color which reminds us how rainbows are created by the reflection, refraction and dispersion of light in water droplets falling from the sky on a rainy day.


Twelve hues:

Red, Red-Orange, Orange, Yellow-Orange, Yellow, Yellow-Green,

Green, Blue-Green, Blue, Blue-Purple, Purple, Red-Purple


Primary Colors: Red, Yellow, Blue

Secondary Colors: Green, Orange, Violet

Santa CruzSanta Cruz


Hue: color in its purest form

Tint: shade of a variety of color

Tone: mixture of a color with gray or by both tinting and shading

Shade: darkening of a color

Warm Colors: hues or reds, oranges, yellow

Complements warmer skin tones

Gold jewelry 

Cool Colors: derived from shades of blue; greens, violets, light pink

 Complements pale skin

 Silver jewelry 

Neutral Colors: black, beige, taupe, olive

Complements all skin tones

Silver or gold jewelry 


Planning clothing combinations for an upcoming photo shoot?


Things to consider: 

- Photos may be displayed and framed at homes, so envisioning home color decor colors are important.  

- Think about what statement you would like to make and if you would rather have bright, dark or neutral colors.  

- Textures are always great!

- Dress for the season and consider location background colors. 

- Make sure everyone is comfortable in their outfit and feels good.  

- Consider the amount of people in a group and dress accordingly per gender and age.  

- Accessorize!  

  • Men-tie/bow tie, handkerchief, belt, shirt (tucked in vs untucked), ironed, buttoned fully or not.
  • Women-hats, jewelry, scarves, belts, clips, headbands.  

- Shoes- if they get dirty easily and if an outdoor shoot, plan accordingly and bring extra shoes for walking (flats/flip flops).  

- Have fun, take risks and be unique! 


Things to avoid:

- Being too matchy, matchy, but rather complement each other.  

- Limit patterns within a large group.  Everyone wearing the same pattern distracts the image.

- Since these photos will be timeless kept safe memories, try not to wear characters on clothing and avoid large logos.  

- Avoid all blacks or all white clothing when with a large group.  The subjects tend to blend into each other. 


Colors directly opposite each other on the color wheel. Usually high contrast and bold look. 

Start with a primary color as a base for the look and complement with accessories.

Harmonious color schemes that use three or more adjacent colors on the color wheel

One color should dominate while the others support.

Diana Ross & TwiggyDiana Ross & TwiggyChanneling Diana Ross & Twiggy

A color combination of just one color for the subject, attire, makeup, props and/or background.



Dimensional look where you choose one color and two adjacent tertiary colors of its complement. 

One color dominates, second color supports and third color is an accent.

Evenly spaced out on wheel. Combine every fourth color on the basic color wheel.

Crimson CheckCrimson Check

 Color schemes that use two complementary pairs.

Jean ShrimptonJean Shrimpton

Color Blocking

Contrasting blocks or panels of solid, typically bright colors. 

Color BlockingColor Blocking


Other fun combinations

  Screenshot Screenshot



Justin Michael(non-registered)
This is so amazing for your first blog post, I am so proud of you and all you've accomplished with your photography business. This blog was informative, detail oriented, and very useful in applying to individual everyday wardrobe wear. Keep up the blogging and keep sharing your wonderfully creative mind with us, looking forward to the next one to come!
Your first blog post was awesome, Celisse! Love the family shot of colorblocking. Teeheehee. Looking forward to learning more about photography.
Congrats on your first blog post! Very informative and visually pleasing. Look forward to reading future entries.
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