The use of color is very important to the overall look of a project

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If you want your portfolio to go to a new level, maybe you should be paying attention to color pallets [color schemes].

One of the things that really set professional work apart from home videos is control of the color scheme. The color scheme is simply the collection of colors in the film or video: the clothes, the backgrounds, the props, the makeup, the locations, etc.

Deciding on a color palette before you shoot and sticking to it in production will work wonders for the production value of your project.

When you dress every day you coordinate, or at least I hope you do, your outfits so they work together. When you go to the office you may have a color pallet that is quite different from what you might wear if you were to go out on the town at night to a theater or clubbing.

You are creating a mood around you just by what you wear. Now if you were in control of more than just your clothes then you could really impact people’s moods as they come into contact with you.  This is exactly what Hollywood does for the big screen and TV.

Besides using music to create a mood they use color pallets. Watch this clip from Parenthood. See how close I came to picking the color pallet below it for what colors you see in each scene. Pay attention to the floors, walls, outside the window colors, what each actor is wearing and you will notice every little color is in part of a theme.


When Hollywood goes back in time I noticed they like to use a lot of blue. Take a look at the Lincoln movie trailer. See the colors below and see how close these match.


Another TV show that really exagerates the color pallete is CSI Miami.


If you want to see a large selection of color pallets like above go to Click on Explore to see all types of themes and they will even let you sort them from most popular.

When I travel around the world I find certain locations have a more consistent color pallet as in this photo from West Africa. I guess that when they make many of their own clothes they use the natural colors they can find where as in the US we import from all over the world making things more eclectic.

In this scene above it is like Hollywood coordinated the color pallet, but what really is happening is Hollywood knows that they are just duplicating natural scenes.

The biggest difference between what Hollywood is doing and we might find in everyday life is being sure they control where the subjects eyes go in a scene. If one person walked into a scene and was not part of the color pallet and everyone else was, then your eye goes to them immediately.

Here for example the purple shirt is so different that your eye goes to that person.

In the photo of the two boys they are both wearing blue and then the blue is also on the wall and the floor as well. Then you have the green and touch of the red in the boys pants, floor and flowers. We have three colors in this photo that are being played off of each other. This is what interior designers try to do when decorating and what Hollywood does to help create a mood.

Sometimes you just have to move a step to the right or left to recompose a photograph that will help simplify the color pallet and make the photo stronger.

This is why going to the home of a family you plan to do a family portrait of and help pick out all the clothes and location before you show up later to do the shoot.  If you do you are managing the color pallet and this will make for a better photo.

The use of color is very important to the overall look of a project; like most other things, although the viewer may not be discussing the color palette after watching your work, you can rest assured that the color scheme – or lack thereof – most certainly affected their perception of it. In big-budget Hollywood movies a lot of attention is given to the color of even the finest detail, and with good reason!