How to take accurate picture of leaf/plant with true color

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minhduy512

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I am a total beginner to photography. My job usually involves taking picture of plants/leaves on a black background. We have a Canon EOS 450D with a Tamron SP AF 17-50mm XR Di II LD len. As I tried out several times with the auto mode and close-up mode on the camera, the color of the leaves on the pictures doesn't seem to be accurate. They tend to have a more yellowish color than the real leaves. I think the flash light has something to do with it, as occasionally when the flash didn't burn, the picture seemed to have a better color. I think maybe using the manual mode with a correct setting would allow taking the true color of the leaves, but I don't know how to set it. Is there anyone with experience in taking pictures of leaves/plants who can help me?
 

KmH

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Digital Photography Tutorials
The first 7 tutorials will be most pertinent to you now. Soon however, you would want to be familiar with all the subjects in the list of tutorials.

To have any hope of accurate colors you need to make sure the camera white balance is set accurately.
To do that you need to use a gray card.
Having the grey card in one shot of each leaf is then used to set the white balance post process using your image editing application.

In whatever editing application you view the photos in you would want the workspace to use the ProPhoto RGB color space, because it has a color gamut broad enough to represent all the colors today's digital cameras can capture.
If you're using the sRGB or Adobe RGB color space you're not seeing all the colors.
 
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photo1x1.com

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Hi ad welcome to the forum!
Instead of a grey card you can also use a white piece of paper if you are on a budget. But a grey card has some advantages.
You definitely should shoot RAW. That will give you the option to set the white balance in your editing program and easily tweak the color to your liking without losing quality.
Flash is usually daylight balanced, so if you set your white balance for sunlight you should be fine if the flash is the main source of light.
You don´t necessarily need to use full manual mode. You need to get the exposure right though, the rest can be set while editing the RAW file.
If you want to get it as good in camera as possible, you can set a manual white balance - look at page 90 of your manual (http://files.canon-europe.com/files/soft31340/manual/CUG_EOS450D_EN_Flat.pdf). But again, if you shoot RAW, it wouldn´t make a difference whether you do it in camera, or while editing.
Does that help?
 

Ysarex

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The info you've already been given is good. Here's an example in practice.

My wife is a botanist and I've been photographic plants for 35 years now. Scientists like pretty pictures well enough but heaven help you if you get the color wrong or don't manage to include critical details. Bottom line: You must measure white balance. Like so:

white_balance.jpg


The first photo is the inaccurate result produced by the auto-white balance algorithm of my camera (shifted blue by 650 degrees Kelvin). Camera auto-white balance is often close but rarely right. The middle photo has been color corrected by measuring the light color with a reference card. In the third photo you see me holding and photographing the reference card. My card is a piece of white Styrofoam cut from the bottom of a food tray. There is one in each of my camera bags, one in a pocket of each of my jackets/coats and three spares that I can see right now on my desk. You can purchase a grey card or white balance card and some of those are almost as good as a piece of white Styrofoam. The key is that the reference not change the color of the light as it bounces back off the reference. White Styrofoam is as spectrally neutral as you're going to get.

So I just take a moment to get a photo of the card in the same light as my subject. Then when I process the photo I can measure the color of the card and transfer that measurement to the photo of the plant. I'm shooting and processing raw files. As noted you can also use the card to set a custom WB on your camera in the field.

Beyond taking a reference measurement you need to work on calibrated processing hardware -- you computer display must be calibrated properly.

Joe
 

chuasam

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Use an XRite ColorChecker passport to first calibrate your camera profile.
Then use a white balance reference in the image (not a grey card)
 

astroNikon

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.. and make sure you are not using mixed lighting, which is where you would have several different light sources which provide different color temperatures. Such as mixing flash, with natural or flourescent or LED or incandescent lighting.

Good quick overview for improved understanding ==> How to Correct Mixed Lighting

more in depth (ie, repeating what every one said above) ==> Understanding White Balance
 

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To bring the accurate colors you need to make sure the camera white balance is set accurately.
To do that you need to use gray background. Using a gray background your maximum focus is on the product and you will get a good result and color balance.
 

smoke665

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To bring the accurate colors you need to make sure the camera white balance is set accurately.
To do that you need to use gray background. Using a gray background your maximum focus is on the product and you will get a good result and color balance.

First of all welcome to the forum, there is a lot of good information to be gleaned from old threads, that's why they don't delete them. Most of the time once the posts die down on a thread, pretty much all has been said, that needs to be. Unfortunately it's easy to resurrect them from the dead if you don't look at the post date at the top of the original post, a mistake we've all made at one time or another.
 

EtherArts

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With the camera in manual mode, set the shutter speed to about 1/125 of a second and aperture to f/5.6 or f/8. Use a manual flash set to about 1/8 or 1/16 power to provide just a small pop of light on the flowers. The idea is to light only the plant and not the background.
 

snowbear

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And let's let it rest as read only.
 
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