Washed out colors

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by monkeybanjo, Jul 13, 2005.

  1. monkeybanjo

    monkeybanjo TPF Noob!

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    Hi,

    Just hoping someone can give me a little advice about how to make sure my photos come out with strong colors.

    I was in Africa two years ago and took a shedload of photos. Unfortunately, the colors were consistently weak and faded compared to the subjects i was photographing. I'm going back again next month and would really like to do better this time, so If anyone has any ideas on what might have gone wrong, I'd be very grateful.

    Thanks,

    Dave
     
  2. Meysha

    Meysha still being picky Vicky

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    The biggest thing I would suggest is the lighting. To have really nice striking bright colours I need nice bright sun light.... with no clouds. To tell how bright the sun is, I usually look at how dark the shadows are. Very dark shadows mean very bright sun.

    So that shouldn't be a problem in some parts of africa.

    What sort of camera were you using.... and what will you be using?
     
  3. monkeybanjo

    monkeybanjo TPF Noob!

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    That was quick!!

    Thanks for the reply, I'll be using the same cameras this time as i brought before. A Canon EOS and an ancient Nikon F2. Both have taken good pictures in other situations although i am by my own admission a complete amateur.

    If conditions are are generally bright should i be trying to compensate in some way?

    For example, I have some pictures of elephants from reasonably close range which also contained some vibrant green bushes, but neither the elephants nor the bushes were as strongly colored as i would have predicted. Could this be because the rest of the picture was mainly white-ish sand with the sun reflecting off it?
     
  4. Meysha

    Meysha still being picky Vicky

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    Would you be able to post a picture that you're not happy with?

    With your example of the elephants, you're talking about metering which just controls how light or dark the photo is. I wouldn't worry about compensating for bright conditions, just let your camera look after the metering (shutter speed and aperture).

    I'm assuming you're using film and not digital. Choice of film can be very important as well. If you want some really rich colours have a look at some professional slide films like Velvia 100F or if you can still find it Velvia 50. The Kodachromes are great for their colours too. You'd be surprised but some cheap consumer films have good bright colours too... problem is they're sometimes not very realistic, and you end up with skin colours looking orangey-ish.
     
  5. Big Mike

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

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    Welcome to the forum.

    If you could post an example of your 'washed out' photos, we could get a better idea of what went wrong.

    Were you shooting color negative film? or slide film? And if neg film, where did you get them developed & printed?

    With color negative film...how the prints look, has a lot to do with the machine & operator at the lab. If you just took your film to Wal-mart or some cheap one-hour drug store lab...I wouldn't be surprised if that was your problem. You could have some of your shots reprinted at a good lab to see if they can give you more saturated bright colors.

    Something to try on your next trip is a polarizer filter. It will help to reduce glare & reflections and give you more saturated colors. It also helps darken blue skies and get better definition on clouds.
     
  6. SLOShooter

    SLOShooter TPF Noob!

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    You could try Velvia film. I haven't personally but I've heard that the colors are much more saturated.
     
  7. monkeybanjo

    monkeybanjo TPF Noob!

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    Hmmm....have no access to a scanner at the moment, but if i get the chance i'll upload one at the weekend to get your opinions.

    The film i used was all color negative. Unfortunately, i can't remember where exactly i got them developed, somewhere cheap and quick methinks...not the wisest!
     
  8. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    Get a polarizing filter.
     
  9. fadingaway1986

    fadingaway1986 I Burn Easily :(

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    I would try taking your negs to a lab that uses fuji paper. In my experience - I think the fuji paper comes out a lot more saturated.

    Would it be possible your films passed through xrays? That might have had an effect. Or maybe heat?
     
  10. Meysha

    Meysha still being picky Vicky

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    I wouldn't be worried about xrays anymore. I used to be freaked out about my film going through xray machines in airports, museums etc. Until last month.
    I had a roll of Medium format 400 ISO and 125 (i think... does that exist???), and 2 rolls of really cheap out of date 35mm Kodak 200 and 400 ISO... that were all exposed. Then all this film was left in my carry bag - I'd completely forgotten about it - and I went through 2 museum x-ray machines, then 1 train xray machine, 3 airport xray machines and then they sat in a hot car for a day or so. (hehehe I love my film can't you tell)
    Got them developed and they're all perfect.
    But still... if you're scared, don't chance it, but I'm not paranoid anymore.

    Definately get the polariser if you want bluer blues and greener greens!! Plus that african sun is pretty harsh and bright so you could definately do with it. But you might need to take the filter off if you're gonna do any low-ish light stuff coz I think you can lose 2 stops with a polarizing filter.
     

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