Working With Colour

In the lesson about Building Your Instagram Gallery we talked about the importance of thinking about your colours. Colours are so important in being recognised online. That doesn't mean you have to stick to a really strict palette all the time but if people associate particular colours with you this can be very useful in developing your style and your visibility.

In this lesson we will think more about the importance of thinking about colour not just on Instagram but everywhere that you are sharing images online and offline too.

Your Makelight Insights Report gives you some great information about the colours you are using in your images and the response those colours are getting from your audience. This information can help you to think about colours you might want to be using on your website, branding and social media images.

A Colour Safari

On your Pinterest Safari you'll have explored far and wide, and we hope, come up with a "look" or a few that you might want to try out in your own work.

Part of any look is having a consistent colour palette, at least to start with. Thinking about the colours that you see around you, that are currently popular or tie in with what you do, is a really important part of developing your own visual style.

At the beginning of this course, you will have received a Makelight Insights report. It's a snapshot of what's going on with your images and shows you an overview of your most prominent colours among your more popular images.

In your report, we pull out several of your most liked images, and then a palette of the most prominent colours that are present in them. This is a useful starting point for helping you define and understand the palette of colours you're currently sharing, and also where you might want to make changes.

Essentially, we look at the images that are doing best for you, that seem to resonate most with your followers, and then show you the colours that they might see if they were quickly scanning your gallery.

Emily has learned over the last few years to have a palette in mind when she is shooting a photo. Hers has lots of pastels, pinks, greens, but you might be surprised by your report. In her report below, some of the most popular recent images also have a slightly darker tone than she usually shares. Browns, blacks, oranges… are there colours in your report that surprise you? Or is there a consistency already?

Revisit your Insights report

Have a look back at your report via the menu. Can you see consistent colours weaving through your images, or is there a huge variety?

Variety isn't a problem, but when someone looks at your gallery and is deciding whether to follow you, an underlying thing they might be considering is the promise of what they'll receive if they press the Follow button. If the gallery looks like it has a consistent palette, then I think it's one more reason for someone to think "this looks great, and I know what I'll get if I follow".

I'd like you to try to shoot some images over the next few weeks that fit in with your palette, whatever you decide it should be. The palette isn't just about the foreground, but it's the background too. If you want a minimal, bright feel, you need to find a minimal, bright background with the right colour. If you want an earthy, organic palette, then look out for backgrounds that are distressed, vintage or faded feel.

If you feel you use lots of different colours in your images (maybe you sell paint, or yarn) then concentrate on the colours you're using around your subjects. Have a look through the backgrounds on your recent images. Are they dark, grey, messy, inconsistent? That's where you should do some colour research!

An exercise: Colour Safari

I'd like you to try another safari exercise over the next few days. It's in two parts:

Find your colour palette

On your Makelight profile, you'll find a feed of your recent images. We've scanned your most recent couple of weeks of Instagram posts, and you can see a colour palette under each individual image.

We've released some new features for you as part of this course! Anywhere you see a circle of colour throughout the Makelight website, you'll be able to save that colour for later, just by tapping or clicking it.

Some good starting points are your own Insights report, checking out the newly updated Hashtag Library tool, or browsing the course Who's Who to see the colours that other people are sharing.

Along the way, you might find hashtags you'd like to try too, so save a few of those with the heart button. It'll help with another lesson this week.

Collect examples of your palette

This second part might take you some time, but try to gather clippings and inspiration around you that uses the colours you are finding and collecting on your save Colours area of the site. You can do this on Pinterest too, but I find it so helpful to have physical prints, magazines and objects around me in my space to help me think about my colours.

Have a look through the individual images and see if you can spot any colours that you think most align with what you are doing. Or are there colours that seem to be out of place?

Exploring colours via hashtag

In our newly updated Hashtag Library you can search around for the colours that people are using in your area of interest. Start with a hashtag that you know and love (one of the less noisy, and lovely ones) and see if you can gather some colour inspiration from the people and posts that you find.

Gathering colours on the go

If you're on an iPhone, you might like to try ColorDot, which is a beautiful little app made by a friend of Makelight. It works in a browser too if you don't! It lets you take photos of things around you, and pull out the colours within them to create palettes. It's fun to play with and can help you get exactly the right colour for your website, for instance.

There's lots to explore here, and once you've started thinking about your colours, you'll then be able to think about the kinds of things you should be including in your images to create a really consistent look across a series of images.

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