How to Use the Latest Color Trends in Photos to Set them Apart

When you work within the creative field as a graphic designer, photographer, or writer, it’s critical to keep up with incoming trends on a regular basis. In my mind, staying in tune with the "creative pulse" gives you an edge.

I recently had the chance to meet up with a client of mine in New York City for a prestigious retail business event. We picked up on some of the hot insider color trends for the fall, winter, and spring seasons just ahead. I plan on using my notes from that show as I make decisions in my stock photo choices and overall design concepts for the rest of the year.

Below are six of the top colors I saw for the next several seasons.

MULBERRY (top left) is going to be a huge and smashing success overall. It’s a deep dusty grey purple without too much red. It’s just right, looking important, hip, and new all at the same time.

LEMON (top middle) and CHOCOLATE, or “carafe” as some folks call it (bottom right), will continue to be used along with a TEAL (bottom middle). But this is not your grandma’s old teal from the 70s and 80’s… it’s a new bluer, richer shade and some are naming it EMERALD.

A deep rich midnight or bottle GREEN (bottom left) is very popular for fall/winter due to the “thickness” of its tone and seems to add a rich, savvy look and feel to fabrics, accessories, and handbags.

And finally, CANDY APPLE RED looks slick and perky on products and accessories in various collections. Red always seems to get your attention and many skin tones can wear it well if it’s more of a blue tone like the above, than a yellow/orange red. Some people are also naming this SAMBA.

Here are a few examples of photos I’ve recently purchased that include these colors...

The photo above of the woman on a lovely sofa looking up from reading her book to “talk with us” successfully ties in the deep rich bottle greens we’ll be seeing a lot of in the coming months. It’s the perfect tone to highlight her pale pink shirt and make her seem approachable, relaxed, and interesting.

If this background was bright orange flowered wallpaper instead, for example, we would not have been able to capture such a warm and thoughtful feeling. I chose this shot for my design due to the color and tones and mood.

Using the contrast of the grey background -- very earthy and natural in tone -- against the brightness of this lady’s shirt make this photo above interesting and something you want to take a closer look at. I could easily add in copy or a headline to the left. If her shirt was a drab grey or black stark color, the effect would not be as exciting overall. I chose this shot for many reasons but the shirt color and background were tops in my mind.

The new 2013 fall teal, which has a lot more blue in it, is really coming at us in full force in this exciting shot. I needed a confident senior woman doing something that required concentration. The colors in this shot are both interesting and fun. They really do tend to keep the woman looking confident and in control all at the same time. If the car were red or a bright jarring tone, this exact feeling would not have been possible in my design. It’s good to try to consider the use of a shot when looking around for various options and directions.

This photographer knew what they were doing when they paired that bright candy apple red top on the woman at left (just a slice of it) with the warm brown tones on the man’s shirt….

The red has just enough blue tones in it to tie into those earthy colors overall. The out-of-focus green natural leaves and tree shapes help in bringing this couple right into center stage.

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