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A Look at the Role of Color Theory in Portrait Photography

NYC photographer & educator, Jessica Whitaker, explores how background color can drastically affect the story, mood and feel of any portrait. In a new YouTube tutorial, Jessica photographs one model on five distinct Savage seamless paper backdrops to demonstrate the importance of choosing the right color for your next photo project!

If you’re feeling in a creative rut and don’t know where to start with planning out your next shoot, try starting by selecting your backdrop color! The hue and vibrance of your background color will set the foundation for the mood of the portrait, and prompt you to build off that tone with model wardrobe, makeup and prop styling.

Color is a compelling form of communication. Do you want to communicate that your model is intense and full of excitement? Match her personality with energetic Plum. Perhaps she’s powerful and strong; reach for Primary Red. Moody and elegant? Test out the dark Evergreen. You’ll soon realize color can speak louder than words!


Primary Red




Do you experiment with color theory in your photography?

Tell us about your most recent experience and what colors you were working with!