Warm Colors vs. Cold Colors: Do you know how they differ?

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Do you know the difference between warm colors Y cold colors? Today I explain to you what they are and what sensations they transmit.

Understanding these concepts will help you not only in your photography, but also in many other aspects of your personal and work life.

warm colors vs. Cold colors

According to the psychology of color, colors can be warm or cold depending on whether they convey a sensation of cold or heat.

There are some colors that are considered neutral or that are cool or warm depending on the proportion of color they include, for example, a yellowish green is warm while a bluish green is cooler.

Both are green and, however, the sensations they produce in us are different.

Green in cool and warm tonesGreen can be cooler (left) or warmer (right) depending on whether it contains more or less blue.

warm colors

The warm colors are those that contain red in their composition, the more red they contain, the warmer it is considered.

warm color rangewarm colors

They are associated with heat, day or fire. The emotions that warm colors arouse or evoke are energy, happiness or fun, among others.

They are related to aspects such as passion, joy, party or dynamism, which is why they are used by many brands to attract a certain audience.

In addition, the elements of warm colors give the feeling of moving forward in the image, they seem closer.

What are the warm colors?

warm colors are those that go from yellow to redalso passing through oranges, ochres, browns, etc.

Some examples of warm colors They are: mahogany, sienna, golden ochre, carmine, coral, vermilion, amber, melon or lemon yellow.

Cold colors

Cool colors are those that contain blue in their composition. The more blue it contains, the cooler a color is said to be.

cool color rangeCold colors

They are associated with winter, ice or night, for example. The emotions that arouse or evoke cold colors are tranquility, calm, sadness, nostalgia, mystery, etc.

They are related to aspects such as peace or calm and are used in professional settings because they also convey security.

Cold colors produce an opposite effect to warm colors, they give a feeling of spaciousness and distance.

What are cool colors?

They are the ones who go from green to violet, through blue, on the color wheel.

Some examples cold colors They are: turquoise, indigo, light blue, aquamarine, cobalt blue, bluish purple, Payne’s gray.

color temperature

In photography there is a term related to warm and cool colors: color temperature.

Light has a color temperature that varies throughout the day. The consequence is that photos can appear orange when the light is warm, or bluish when it is cold.

You can get cool tones with the light of the blue hour, for example, but also with clouds or in shadow.

Mountain landscape with cold toneslandscape with cold colors

On the other hand, we obtain warm colors at sunrises and sunsets or what we know as golden hour.

Sunset landscape with warm tonesLandscape with warm colors at sunset

The same happens with artificial lighting, depending on the type of bulb, the light can have a different temperature. In these examples you can see the difference between the different lights:

Cool toned photography of girl reading cold
Neutral light photography of girl reading neutral
Warm tone photo of girl reading warm

To correct a warm or cold temperature, you have to resort to white balance. Although it is not always necessary to make this correction, sometimes like in the landscapes above, the warm or cool colors of the light are an important part of the image.

Emotions associated with different colors

We have several specific articles to delve into the meaning of color in photography or to learn how to arouse emotions through color in your images.

Now, to see very briefly the associated emotions to the warm colors Y coldI leave you with this graph:

emotions associated with cold and warm colors

Summary table of cold and warm colors

In this summary table you can see the difference between warm and cool colors.

WARM COLORS
warm-colorsCOLD COLORS
cold colorsDefinitionThey are the ones
contain red They are those that
include blue examplesYellow Red,
OrangeGreen, Blue,
Violetmeanings
associatesPassion, dangerProfessionalism,
wellnesssensations
associated
energy, joy,
dynamism Calm, sadness,
nostalgiaEffects on
image
advance,
ClosenessRecede,
remotenessNatural lightsunrises and
sunsetsBlue Hour,
shade,
foggyArtificial lightCandle,
tungstenXenon,
fluorescent

And if you are interested in knowing more about color in photographic composition, I leave you a lot of tips and tricks in the link.

So far this article on cold and warm colors, I hope it has been useful to you and that it has cleared your doubts, otherwise, you already know that you can leave a question or comment ⬇️ ⬇️ ⬇️.

You can also share it so it reaches more people ☺️. Thank you thousand!

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