A film can be inspiring and funny and wonderful, but if it wasn’t created with an artist’s eye, it will fall away from the public’s consciousness like that.

Humans are visual creatures. Cinematographers and directors have to be creative with composition if they want to capture the attention of the audience. Visually striking pieces like these are the ones that have left the audience feeling as if they’ve journeyed to another world.  They took advantage of color, and immersed their audiences into another land.

You can do the same with your photography.  If you are willing to experiment, and to work to find the colors that will capture the mood of your portfolio, you will be able to successfully create images that astound and inspire people.


1.) Life of Pi (2012)

tiger, boat, water, yellow

Ang Lee’s Life Of Pi has taught cinematographers and directors to be bold with their choice of color.  Swathed in golds and blues, this film is a visual treasure chest that sweeps you across the ocean.  If you wish to inspire your audience to seek adventure and the natural beauty of the sea, take a leaf out of the Life of Pie’s book and experiment with bold colors.


2.) The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)clock, man, sunglasses

A curious case, indeed.  Unlike Life of Pi, Curious Case utilizes subdued colors to capture the mood of the film.  As Benjamin ages backwards, the colors grow brighter as he gets younger.  But as he reaches birth, or, in the case of the story, death, the colors become subdued again.  The strength of the colors in this film vary as the mood changes, demonstrating to us that the colors in your images can work to tell a story.


3.) Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

girl, tree, opening

Pan’s Labyrinth is a perfect example of how color can set the tone between two different worlds.  When the characters experience the real world, they are surrounded by yellows and greens.  In the scenes where they are faced with monsters and magical curiosities, the composition suddenly turns blue and dark. Pan’s Labyrinth is unique because, while both worlds are distinctly different, the tone throughout the film is eerie because of the sharp shadows that strike across the character’s faces.


4.) Amelie (2001)

amelie, red room, green shirt

This charming tale is composed in reds and greens, which evoke feelings of love and luck. This harsh juxtaposition of color not only catches the eye of the viewer, it sets the mood for the film as well.


5.) Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

lighthouse, blue sky, police car

Wes Anderson is known for his bright, comic-book like color schemes.  Through this, he has made his work some of the most identifiable in the world of film.  If you want to feel inspired by the world of color like you were as a kid, take a moment to watch any of Wes Anderson’s work.


6.) Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind (2004)

blue, dark, bedroom , dim

Starring Jim Carrey as Joel and Kate Winslet as Clementine, Eternal Sunshine tells the story of a man who erases his memory of the woman that he once loved.  As most of the film takes place in Joel’s mind, like a dream, the composition in this piece is dark and jarring.  Composed of blues and grays, Eternal Sunshine demonstrates that an image can be affective even if it just utilizes cool color tones.


Feature Photo Courtesy Amelie