Photography and the Color Red

Human blood, love, anger, sin, passion, and danger, are all symbolized by the color red. Additionally, in some cultures in the East red symbolized prosperity and luck. Several studies indicate that red carries the strongest reaction of all the colors, with the level of reaction decreasing gradually with orange, yellow, and white, respectively. In photography, the color red screams to be noticed, and can be used to create powerful, and sellable images. It’s no wonder then that designers utilize images with red to catch the attention of potential buyers.

My best selling image here at Dreamstime contains the color red:

© Eric1513 ( Help)

I didn’t go looking to take a photo of anything red that day but when I happened upon the accident scene I immediately recognized the power that the color red added to the image.

Here are some other very popular and sellable images at Dreamstime where the color red is used:

© Okea ( Help)

© Jlye ( Help)

© Eprom ( Help)

© Eric1513 ( Help)

The power of these images, because of the color red, is clear. Look through your portfolio here at Dreamstime and see if you utilize the color red. If you haven’t it may be time to make a change and add red to images that you submit. The results may be dramatic.

Good luck and I hope to see you out shooting!

Photo credits: Lane Erickson, Johnny Lye.

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April 18, 2011


I always knew that red was a powerful color and I really love it but i've never throught of using it in photography(with this clear purpose). I will definitely try it.Thank you! :)

April 18, 2011


Like CrystofurrI find red an incredibly difficult colour to wrok with, I know that greens and blues are more suseptable to noise but for some reason I find an accurate portrayal of the colour red very difficult to portray accurately!

November 18, 2010


I was reading this article and thought that you are right about red colour in stock photos, it makes images to stand out. And here we are, in the last two days I actually sold 2 images in red colour! I think there could be no better confirmation to your words! ;D

November 17, 2010


Powerful color, great concepts!

November 17, 2010


great article! well said , thanks for sharing

November 16, 2010


Red is a great color. Thanks for sharing!

November 16, 2010


Red is a hard color to work with but is also very rewarding when it fits. I get a lot of artifacts and have to stray away from fades when possible.

November 16, 2010


Nice blog... RED works, RED sells...

November 16, 2010


When I see a red subject I think immediately "this will cause troubles with my sensor!". I have a Canon 450d, and its sensor it's too sensible to red colour, so it easily lose details. But, yes, you're right on the power of red!

November 15, 2010


I'm sure you are right.... Well spotted and thank you. David.

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