Hue is a term that refers to the visible color of an object. In art and photography, color pictures are made up of various hues, determined by the wavelength of visible light. You already know the names of many hues; “red”, “violet”, “tan” and “teal” all describe hues. Paints are named for their hues, such as ultramarine blue. In photography, the hues rendered in a captured image are determined by the wavelength of the varying light waves striking the film or camera sensor. Many pictures contain a dominant hue. Strictly speaking, hue does not describe how light or dark a color is, only what family of colors it belongs to. When you’re viewing a picture, try to name as many hues as you can, using both general and more specific names.

Siena Tower

This image is made mostly of two families of hues – blues and reds.

Sweet Shop in Venice by Nat Coalson

This photograph is made of myriad hues, maybe too many to list!

This abstract photograph is comprised entirely of blue hues.

This abstract photograph is comprised entirely of blue hues.

Falls at the Grottos photo by Nat Coalson

This black-and-white picture doesn’t contain any hues at all; only tones (or “values”, which I’ll cover in a later post).

Want to supercharge your photographic skills?

Subscribe to Photographic Design Workshop to receive email with free tutorials, pro tips and special offers on our photography training programmes. You'll also get a free copy of 5 Creative Exercises for Developing Your Creative Vision.

You can unsubscribe any time.

Success! Please check your inbox for confirmation.