The color or colors you choose to include or take out of your image, from a post-processing perspective, are as important as your composition. We are all drawn to certain colors. There have been numerous studies done on the subject. Gender and age, and how we associate feelings or ideas, all have been thoroughly studied throughout the ages. With the advent of software it is now even easier to use selective coloring on an image. So how do we decide what color or color scheme to use? Do we desaturate the whole image into black and white? Do we use sepia tones? Blues, reds, oranges, green, oh the endless possibilities can drive you crazy!!!!! There’s one thing to keep in mind, though, that can quell the craziness and narrow down your choices. What kind of emotion/feeling are you trying to achieve? If you can answer this, then your choices become smaller and your focus sharper.
If you are going for dark and foreboding then bright yellow and neon green are probably out as your main colors. The opposite holds true, as well, if your piece is all happiness and joy then deep brown and black will more than likely not play a prominent role. Not everyone responds to all the colors the same way, of course, but there are certain themes with colors that for the most part hold true to most people. The interesting thing is to remember that even within the same color, the different shades of that color could invoke vastly different reactions.
A muted blue can calm and has a sense of cooling to it. A bright vibrant blue, may energize and invigorate.
A deep red may invoke anger or sexual excitement while a light-red-almost-pink tone may instill passivity.
Color choice all boils down to what you are trying to convey with your image. Colors are fun, they can set moods, they can emphasize and they can influence a viewer’s reaction more than most people think. They are another tool you can use to help you convey your intent for an image. Play with different colors schemes, presets, and actions. Slide the hue bar around and see what happens. Slightly desaturate parts of an image thereby highlighting a different area.
Whether you are a red person, a blue person, yellow, green, purple, or you think the only way a picture should be presented is in black and white, we all have our own likes and dislikes, but that shouldn’t stop you from experimenting. Expand your color horizons. Who knows, you may just stumble into your blue period.