While red usually warns of danger, excitement and power, and green promises nature and nurture, when the two colours collide, they are a complementary duo that represents the best of Christmas. Here’s what you need to know before you get snappin’ these hues this festive season.

Turn on the lights. It’s Christmas! Photo credit: Kevin Dooley

There are many influences that moved the partner hues into Christmas consciousness but the one singular element that started it, which we don’t get to see a lot of here in Singapore, is the holly plant.

Long used in many cultures to protect as much as decorate, the bright red set against the rich green came forth as most other plants withered, and the vibrant colours livened up the winters.

The resilient and brightly-coloured Holly plant. Photo credit: Liz West

The verdant green we see also came from the continuous use of trees as a symbol of the festivity, and the evergreens also served as reminders of Spring’s return during the dark winters in those climates.

But here in the tropics, far away from holly and pine, we can celebrate the colour partners our way.

How about a cuppa with a pop of red and green this Christmas? Photo credit: @ctpslowyeo

It’s always nice to know the origin of the festivities as it can add another dimension to the photo you might be taking. But all that aside, red and green really pop visually.

Because they are on the opposite sides of the colour wheel, they create a natural visual illusion that makes them appear brighter. This is called simultaneous contrast and can help you to create some really arresting images.

Make use of Christmas ornaments to add a pop of blue in the sea of red and green. Photo credit: @heyhaikel

Even though the pairing seems festive, look around and you might be surprised there are plenty of other examples.

In fact, plenty of tropical colours feature this palette so why not head outdoors and capture the season’s festivities in a different way with this dramatic duo. It really shouldn’t be too hard.

Plenty of natural world combinations feature red and green in the tropics. @thru_de_lenz

When creating shots this Christmas, combine the striking colour duo with some high-key or low-key lighting! One of the best things about this season is all the lights you can use to create an airy shot for the former, or dramatic one with the latter.

Add some drama to Christmas! Photo credit: @evanezer

If you like to head overseas this season, don’t forget to use the opportunity to capture this fun pair of colours too. It’s featured in many Asian traditions and architecture too!

A Shinto wedding contains the stunning colour pair! Photo credit: @aperturestudios_hans

You might wish to look around not only at the festive decorations, but at urban settings for more inspiration. Murals, fixtures, paintwork and moldings, when the duo team up, it’s always a visual pleasure.

 You can try adding in some red and green elements into a long-exposure shot too! Photo credit: @julian_cheong

Equipped with full-frame sensors or high ISO capabilities, Canon cameras will no doubt help you in creating some real atmospheric photos. Even in low-light situations where the light source is only from the twinkling fairy lights (hopefully in red and green), you’ll still manage to capture the spirit of the season.

With more relaxed working days and nice long holidays, it’s the perfect time to get creative and give a twist to the Christmas pairing. Go out there and celebrate your season your own way and have a rewarding festive period!

First published: Canon EOS World

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