Saturday, July 6, 2013

A Photo Color Palette: In the Garden

I discovered color palette generators a few months ago and since then have wanted to tie them into a blog post somehow. They can be helpful and provide inspiration when planning anything where you need to decide on a color scheme, whether it be a graphic design, a special event such as a wedding, decorating a room, putting together outfits, or even as inspiration for a makeup look! It's fun to take a favorite photograph and see its elements broken down into individual colors. Simply upload your photo and voilĂ --the program analyzes it and presents you with an array of color swatches to choose from. 

Some of you may recognize the image I've used here of a coral rock wall and plants, as it was shown a few weeks ago in my feature on Pinecrest Gardens. I decided to do a sampling of just a few of the colors the palette generator came up with from this photograph and match them with similar shades in my polish collection.

Before I actually began picking the shades I thought it would be a breeze finding matches, but soon realized it was no simple task! I would first study the swatches on my screen, dash off to search my stash in another room and then return and hold the bottles up to the screen to see if I had a suitable match. But despite my efforts, you could say my first attempt at color matching was not entirely successful!

I ended up forgoing one green shade (Zoya's Gemma) that I now think would have been a good choice to represent kokoda, and instead used another that turned out to be too blue-toned. And then, the shade I thought could be a stand-in for the slightly purple-tinged gray shade almond frost turned out to be not very similar at all!

This was a good lesson for me on how different lighting conditions affect the way a color appears to the eye, and also a reminder that a color seen in person can look quite different once it is photographed and up on a computer screen (something I've often struggled with when trying to present accurate product swatches).

It was interesting going through my collection and revisiting colors that haven't seen daylight in a while.   Next I'd like to take a stab at creating an entire look, eyes, lips and face, inspired by the colors of this photograph. I tend to reach for the same few colors on a daily basis, so this will force me to get creative and step out of my makeup rut for a bit!

  1. OPI Thanks a Windmillion
  2. OPI Lincoln Park at Midnight
  3. Dolce and Gabbana Passione
  4. Jessica Au Natural
  5. Essie She's Picture Perfect
  6. Essie Neo Whimsical
  7. Sephora by OPI Metro Chic 

Left to right: OPI Thanks a Windmillion, OPI Lincoln Park at Midnight, Dolce and Gabbana Passione, Jessica Au Natural, Essie She's Picture Perfect, Essie Neo Whimsical, Sephora by OPI Metro Chic

I chose OPI's sage green Thanks a Windmillion, to represent the khaki-green kokada. OPI's Lincoln Park at Midnight, a shimmery eggplant, represents the blackened purple wood bark. Dolce and Gabbana's Passione was a fairly good match for the shade #d83dba, which was derived from the fuchsia Bougainvillea petals you can see in the background of the photograph. Jessica's Au Natural, a nude-caramel, was my closest match for the shade whiskey, which can be seen in the warm blush tones of the lighter bromeliad leaves. Essie's muted lavender, She's Picture Perfect, is my aforementioned failed attempt to match the purple-tinged gray almond frost. Essie's Neo-Whimsical was an easy choice for beauty bush, a pale dusty pink. And finally, Sephora by OPI's smoky purple-gray-taupe, Metro Chicwas chosen to represent spice. 

Alternates, left to right: Lancome's Beige Dentelle and Gris Angora, and Zoya's Gemma shown next to OPI's more blue-toned green, Thanks a Windmillion. I think the khaki green Gemma is a much better match for kokoda!

If you'd like to try out color palette generators there are several on the web to choose from. Some are more accurate or detailed than others so I recommend doing a Google search and try a few until you find one you like. The one I used today was created at Big Huge Labs. A few others I've come across are ColRD: Image DNADeGraeve, PhotocopaPictaculous, and Adobe's Kuler app. I'd also love to hear your recommendations if you have any favorite color or design apps you'd like to share!


  1. Really pretty nail shades! They really capture the essence of the photograph!

  2. Oh, I would love to see the looks you come up with using these colours. :) I saw these generated pictures floating around on Pinterest and meant to investigate but always forgot. Great original post!

    1. Hi Liz, Thank you! I pulled some colors to try to do an eye look - not too sure how it will come out but I'm going to give it a shot! :)

  3. what a wonderful and creative post. I love how your brain works.

    1. Hi Shelley, Aw thanks! I love playing around with color - I guess that's why I love nail polish so much - there's always something new and pretty to tempt me!


Thanks for commenting!