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allgambits 09-07-2010 01:47 PM


I am a beginner in photography. I see that on this website, pics by some photographers have stunning colors. I just don't get good colors. They are very dull and are not exciting. I am not sure what is causing this ? Can someone advise ? Is it technical ? is it post processing ? or is it just me ?

Any help will be appreciated.

tcht 09-10-2010 02:57 PM

what camera are you using? and do you have any filters and do you use photoshop?

also would help if you post some pics first...

daveRen 09-12-2010 06:48 PM

Polarizing Filter, etc.
Hello fellow newbie.
There are a few things you can do to adjust the color to your liking both within the camera and in "post-processing" (Photoshop.) However, I have found that getting the most colorful image into the lens is really the way to go. I use a good quality (B+W) Polarizing Filter all the time that I shoot outside. It will darken blue skies and help saturate the colors of plant and rocks by removing slight reflections. You adjust this filter by turning it for the amount of "effect" you want - you can go too far, depending on the quality of the light. Also, I always use the lens shade and tend to underexpose a little to get the colors nice and dark. You will loose some light through the filter (-1 to - 1.5 stops.)

I put together a Workshop with your photo:
Here I have attempted to simulate the effect of the Polarizer Filter by making adjustment to your photo with Photoshop. Note that the sky would come out "naturally" darker than my simulation and the clouds would be highly contrasted against the blue.

There are lots of before / after examples here:

Please have a look at my photos on TrekEarth and on my website for examples:

That being said (getting off my Polarizer rant) there may be something you can do with your camera settings. It looks like you have a Canon Rebel, so maybe someone with that camera can be more help. (In my opinion the Canon JPGs out of the camera are a little flat - different manufactures have different ways of processing the color.) There are probably "Custom Settings" available through your Menus that would allow you to slightly increase the saturation setting. I would experiment around with that. While you are in there, have a look at your JPG settings - set the camera for the highest detail and the largest image size to give you a processed JPG out of the camera with the most possible detail.

Photoshop or a good image editing program would be helpful in color correction (to your taste.) I use full-featured Photoshop, but I would also highly recommend Photoshop Elements. It is great to use and is reasonably priced.

Also I would experiment around with taking photos in the "Raw" mode where the camera does not process the image. Then you tweak the exposure, color temperature and color saturation in (Photoshop or Canon) software.

I hope this helps....... happy shooting!

- Dave

allgambits 09-14-2010 10:33 AM

Hi Dave and Cheuk ,

Thanks for your replies.Yes, I have Conon T1i. Based on your (
and other fellow photographer's recommendation ) I bought a Circular polarizer.
The pics which I posted were photoshoped.

As per my understanding, polarizing filers would mostly be useful for landscapes,
what about portraits ? I don't get good colors on portraits either.
Also, what settings do I need to change in my camera ?

Sorry for sounding too primitive with my questions :(

Thanks for all the help you can provide.

allgambits 09-14-2010 10:36 AM

and Dave, thanks for your workshop. Much Appreciate it.

daveRen 09-14-2010 03:52 PM

Canon Ti settings, etc.
OK, great that you have a polarizing filter. As I mentioned you turn the end of the filter to get the best effect. I don't think it will help much with the portraits unless you are outside.

Regarding the camera settings, I had a look at this review (which I assume is your camera.) Looking at the whole review may be interesting for you.
It looks like your camera has a preset "style" knob. It may be an idea to try those ..... say set it for "Landscape" outside and "Portrait" for portraits. Along with setting up an automatic shutter speed to lens opening relationship, these change the internal color settings. I also notice that you can go into the menu and change your settings for some "custom styles" - I would experiment around with those...... maybe try increasing the saturation and contrast a bit. Refer to the review link for this.

Another thing you might try is setting the camera for "Adobe RGB" color, which is broader spectrum. This page of the review illustrates the different color styles along with some other interesting information on White Balance:

A couple of other camera setting to check:
- Quality = Large+Fine (menus)
- WB=Auto (WB button then turn dial)
- Custom WB=off (menus)

The only other thing I can think of is to make sure your lens and filter are clean and use a lens shade outside. You could also try some shots without the filter to make sure its not producing a color cast.

I am looking forward to seeing some more of your shots.
(Did you know you can "attach" small images to the forum posts?)

- Dave

allgambits 09-15-2010 04:23 AM

Thank you very much Dave.
I'll try all the options you mentioned.
Regarding my pictures, surely,I'll post some..I am travelling back home to Montreal and will post some of the shots from Quebec !:)

Thanks for your help.

tcht 09-15-2010 05:39 PM

hi again ^^

just looked at your upload now. to me the colours are OK but as dave's said, they could be enhanced through photoshop and a polarizer would certainly make a darker and bluer sky. and i'd recommend that you take every opportunity to shoot at RAW mode.

with RAW you can change white balance and colours to your taste, and the colours won't be at the mercy of the camera's internal jpeg compression. and of course you get better sharpness and details.

also, i noticed that (through the ''view details'' tab) you shot the image at ISO 800, hence f/5.0 and 1/1600.

bear in mind that as ISO goes up, the image quality degrades; colours are worse too. ideally, you should select the lowest ISO setting available without compromising sharpness, i.e. still getting a reasonable shutter speed to compensate for hand shake.

and for most lens, an aperture of around f8 to f11 would provide the best sharpness, so you should use that for landscape. for your photograph, i would think a setting of ISO 100, f/11 would probably give around 1/160-1/200 which is about right (considering that you use aperture priority mode).

allgambits 09-16-2010 04:23 AM

Hi Cheuk,

Thanks for your reply. To be honest, the photo I uploaded was photoshopped :D. I did increase the staturation, brightness in the pic.
I wonder if these kind of pictures can be taken without photoshop !

Regarding ISO settings, Yes, I should have taken it at lower ISO settings. It was done unknowingly.

About RAW, I'll shoot in RAW. When do we shoot in JPEG ?

allgambits 09-16-2010 05:35 AM

I guess, other thing I need to do is, buy a lens hood..I'll try all options and hope I can get better pictures.

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