More Vivid Photos

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by murph1, Apr 21, 2009.

  1. murph1

    murph1 TPF Noob!

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    Hi All!

    I have been at photography for two years now and I am really improving with most areas and I am very happy with the majority of my photos, but I know they could be pushed further.

    I shoot outdoor/natural light with a Canon 40d and an external flash. I feel like I have all my settings correct (for the most part, I guess!) But I am missing the bright vivid colors in my photos. How do you achieve that eye catching coloring? Is it all in editing? I currently use CS3 and I have not shot in RAW and edited with Lightroom - is that the trick?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Welcome to the forum.

    The first part of the equation is in your shooting. Mainly, the exposure. It can help to get a good exposure, but I'll suggest that the most important part is to avoid loosing info by not clipping the highlights. I suggest reading and following this technique; Expose Right

    And yes, post processing can have a lot to do with the final result. I do suggest you start shooting in RAW, as this will give you the most options for processing. Lightroom is certainly not necessary for getting a specific results. Read this for starters; Instant Photoshop
     
  3. WillEpps

    WillEpps TPF Noob!

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    If you want more colour before you even think about getting the photos from your camera, go into the picture control menu on your camera (not 100% sure what its called on the 40d) whack your contrast up, saturation up etc and you'll have colourfull photos straight away
     
  4. abraxas

    abraxas No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Without seeing your work;

    1. shoot raw
    2. use circular polairzer
    3. shoot bright, vivid scenes
    3a. shoot during golden hour(s)
    3b. shoot during dramatic weather
    4. learn more about postprocessing
    4a. adjustment layers
    4a1. levels
    4a2. curves
    4b. learn selection and masking
     
  5. dcclark

    dcclark TPF Noob!

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    I agree that post-processing can help a lot -- in fact, that's often my answer to this question.

    However, I will answer with the "C" choice: sometimes, you don't need vivid colors! :) Black and white, or pleasant subtle colors can really make for great photos. Seeing these opportunities takes time, but it's worth trying sometimes. :)
     
  6. murph1

    murph1 TPF Noob!

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    Thank you everyone! I will try these suggestions out! I am definitely going to start shooting in RAW and learn more about editing RAW photos!
     
  7. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Understanding exposure, understanding how your medium will capture the image, and understanding how light affects the subject.
     
  8. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    Postprocessing is certainly necessary and helpful but you also need to recognize colour issues at the camera level.

    Shooting in the shade or on cloudy days can give your photos a too cool look in terms of colour balance. Your colour temperature or balance may need to be tweaked in your menus to get the colour correct. Shoot under those conditions and compare the colour on the LCD screen with what you see with your eyes.

    Shoot a purple plant (blue/dark red mix) and look at the colour. Is the plant more blue and missing the dark red hue or is the blue de-emphasized. If you shoot inside check the pale colours in the scene versus in your shots to see if they are accurate.

    Filters can help. A polarizing filter, even with flash may produce better skin colour on inside shots. A graduated neutral density filter when shooting a scenic toward a bright sky, will provide better colour and detail in the foreground. An enhancement filter will emphasize reds.

    If you shoot in Adobe RGB, your colours may not look as vibrant or vivid when the automatic conversion is made to srgb for web use or printing.

    In postprocessing by the way, saturation adjustments tend to produce picture noise which reduces image quality. Software filters tend to be a better approach to correcting and improving colour.

    skieur
     
  9. murph1

    murph1 TPF Noob!

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    Thank you everyone for your help! I am mainly focused on outdoor portrait photography (Bridals, engagements, etc) and I have been researching alot for the circular polarizer to find the perfect one. But I am finding in the reviews that this in mainly used for landscape photography (which I love but not focused on right now!)

    Is the circular polarizer a good idea for outdoor portrait photography, or would it not be a necessary purchase?

    Thanks!!
     
  10. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    A polarizer can be used with any image, as it's primary purpose is to filter light of a particular polarization. It can reduce unwanted reflections of light ... which can occur on clothing, glasses, hair ... though I do not know many portrait photographers that do admit to using it.
     
  11. rufus5150

    rufus5150 TPF Noob!

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    Although not quite as important as many of the excellent suggestions above, what type of lens you use can have a pretty significant effect.

    I use polarizers a lot in studio settings to get rid of troublesome specular highlights. Landscape photographers probably have more use for the tool, but if it's the tool that's right for the job, use it.
     
  12. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Doh Rufus I don't know why I didn't think of that a while ago. There was a thread here on photographing people with dark and naturally oily skin and controlling shine. Gah I should turn in my camera :(
     

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