Abstract Azo gallic derivatives and their iron(III) complexes were synthesized and characterized. The stereochemistry and the mode of bonding of the complexes were achieved based on elemental analysis, UV–Vis and IR. The thermal behaviors of the complexes were studied. The effect of pH on the electronic absorption spectra of gallic acid and its azo derivatives are discussed. Different spectroscopic methods (molar ratio, straight line method, continuous variation, slope ratio and successive method) are applied for determination of stoichiometry and pK values for the complex formation of gallic acid with iron(III) in aqueous media. Iron(III) complexes of gallic acid is formed with different ratio: 1:1, 1:2, 1:3 and 1:4 (M:L).