Those wonderful rich colours in photos?

Started Dec 7, 2017 | Discussions
OP Brisn5757 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,302
Re: Those wonderful rich colours in photos?

Brisn5757 wrote:

I've seen some great photos on the internet such as rich strong colours in church interiors or garden scenery and was wondering if most of it is the result of post production, if not then is it one factor such as good lens or maybe a good sensor.

I've tried to bring out rich colours in some of my photos in post-production but often when enhancing the photo starts to look surreal; so I'm thinking if something is missing in the first place its difficult to create in post production.

Comments are welcome thanks.

Brian

One more example

Public gardens

This is not exactly what I saw but I think I might have had the light against me. I don't think there is any way of enhancing this photo.

Brian

 Brisn5757's gear list:Brisn5757's gear list
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX70 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX200V Sony RX100 IV Olympus SP-570 UZ Canon EOS 70D +8 more
OP Brisn5757 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,302
Re: Those wonderful rich colours in photos?

beatboxa wrote:

Brisn5757 wrote:

Brisn5757 wrote:

I've seen some great photos on the internet such as rich strong colours in church interiors or garden scenery and was wondering if most of it is the result of post production, if not then is it one factor such as good lens or maybe a good sensor.

I've tried to bring out rich colours in some of my photos in post-production but often when enhancing the photo starts to look surreal; so I'm thinking if something is missing in the first place its difficult to create in post production.

Comments are welcome thanks.

Brian

I had some requests to show photos that I have had problems with

I tried to recreate what I saw with the camera but failed. I saw beauty in the reflection of the tree in the lake. Trying from a different point of view reduced the red refection on the lake.

These photos are straight from the camera. I tried to enhance the photo but then it became too surreal.

Brian

Thanks. Can you also post your attempts to enhance the photo? This will help pinpoint what you may be doing wrong, and what you mean by "too surreal."

Here's a quick edit in Nik Color Efex Pro. A bit overdone but wanted to show you some potential of the software.

This foliage reminded me of a recent shot I took in the park, which I was using to create new in-camera presets for myself (taken with a Nikon D750):

OK this was the result after post production

Result after Post Production

Brian

 Brisn5757's gear list:Brisn5757's gear list
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX70 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX200V Sony RX100 IV Olympus SP-570 UZ Canon EOS 70D +8 more
OP Brisn5757 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,302
Re: Those wonderful rich colours in photos?

Krav Maga wrote:

Brisn5757 wrote:

Krav Maga wrote:

Brisn5757 wrote:

I've seen some great photos on the internet such as rich strong colours in church interiors or garden scenery and was wondering if most of it is the result of post production, if not then is it one factor such as good lens or maybe a good sensor.

I've tried to bring out rich colours in some of my photos in post-production but often when enhancing the photo starts to look surreal; so I'm thinking if something is missing in the first place its difficult to create in post production.

Comments are welcome thanks.

Brian

It's kind of a subjective thing and may have different meanings to different people. For example, "strong" colors is not the same as "rich" colors for me.

A lot of the photos you see that have "rich" colors--as I interpret it--may not be overly saturated at all, but rather subtle things have been done in pp that really make a photo pop, as it were. For example, balancing complementary colors against each other can vastly improve the richness of a photo's colors. Also, techniques like subtle overlays of solid color layers can add that "richness" as well as actually desaturating some colors. This is just the tiniest tip of the iceberg.

Various techniques that are subtly applied with multiple layers that taken in their entirety can make a huge difference in a way that simply bumping up the vibrancy or saturation cannot.

It may be beneficial to Google "complementary colors" "color balance" "color grading" and "curves" depending on the software you're using for pp.

Kray.

There's the quick and easy side to adjustments in Photoshop then there are the more advanced approach which I need to learn more. Thanks for the google suggestion.

Brian

One thing is to be cautious with simply increasing saturation or going into "vivid" mode. I'm not certain if this photo fits your definition of "rich" colors:

But, to my eye the colors seem fairly rich. On this pic, shot RAW, after playing with the balance of complementary colors, which actually increases color contrast and using a solid color adjustment layer in Overlay mode with only about 4 % opacity, my final layer was a Hue/Saturation layer in which I globally decreased saturation something like -12.

A similar approach was taken with this photo:

My very last adjustment layer was decreasing the global saturation by -9.

I like the rich colours in the photo of the girl;  great photo . Skin tone is often difficult to get correct.

Brian

 Brisn5757's gear list:Brisn5757's gear list
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX70 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX200V Sony RX100 IV Olympus SP-570 UZ Canon EOS 70D +8 more
mujana Veteran Member • Posts: 5,640
Re: White Balance? Underexpose to preserve colour?

TacticDesigns wrote:

Brisn5757 wrote:

Mark Blauhoefer wrote:

There are many software programs and plugins (many free) that can be used to enhance photos. Some are a simple preset click, and others have as many different oprions as ways to enhance the image.

What type of camera are you using? Software? Are you shooting in RAW?

Have you googled 'How to enhance landscape/portrait/church/wedding etc photos'?

I mainly shot in jpg but am keen to try raw.

What white balance are you taking your pictures?

If taking with auto white balance (AWB) remember that the camera is constantly trying to neutralize your pictures. I actually shoot AWB all the time and then try to shift the colour from there mostly.

But . . . remember that when shooting JPG, that that colour balance is used to create the JPG and a lot of potential colour information gets thrown away. (No place for it in a JPG.)

Shooting RAW, you can still shoot AWB, but . . . since all the digital data captured by the sensor gets stuffed into the RAW file, you can go back and completely choose a different colour balance and the post processing software will have all the original data to work with.

If you have the time, shooting RAW will give you the most options with the capture.

My main camera is Canon 70D. I use photoshop. I'll try your google suggestion.

Last year I took a lake that had the red reflection from a red tree growing near the lake but I had a lot of trouble trying to recreate what I saw. To try and get more red in the water it started to look unnatural.

Sometimes cameras have a sunrise / sunset setting? I am guessing that these settings might affect the colour balance setting to try to preserve more of the sunrise / sunset colours?

Also . . . with sunrise or sunset shots, one old trick was to underexpose the shot a bit, and then brighten up the picture in post.

This was supposed to preserve some of the colour at the brighter areas. Rather than let the colour bleach out to white.

This could result in more colourful sunrise / sunset pictures.

Take care & Happy Shooting!

Brian

+1 on shooting raw!

 mujana's gear list:mujana's gear list
Sigma DP3 Merrill Sony a7R II Zeiss Batis 85mm F1.8 Sony FE 16-35mm F2.8 +4 more
Gerry Winterbourne Forum Pro • Posts: 14,482
Re: Rich colors

Brisn5757 wrote:

Mark Scott Abeln wrote:

The simplest thing to do is to increase the 'Saturation' control in your camera. Most every advanced camera has this. Also, boosting the 'Contrast' control can make your images pop.

Some cameras have a 'Vivid' picture style or picture control, which boosts both the saturation and the contrast.

Thanks, I must try and experiment more with this option. The problem might be that what scene that one style is good for then another scene might not suit the style. I wonder if photographers keep changing the cameras style to suit the subject?

[I've also thinking of under exposing my photos by 1/3 stop by using the exposure compensation adjustment. I find that when taking a series of photos, normal , under exposed and over exposed by bracketing the shot, most of the under exposed shots look correct.]

I've copied the second paragraph (into square brackets) from another of your posts. The two things go together.

The way your camera sets exposure is based on a generic type of picture; that may be a bit too bright for some types of picture, a bit too dark for others. If your pictures are generally of similar style and subjects it could well be that it is one where the camera's exposure is a bit too bright so -1/3EC compensates.

If, however, you shoot a range of subjects and styles some of them may be of the types that need a bit of +EC. I suspect that some photographers do alter their camera settings differently for different types of subject (and in more ways than just +/-EC). Some cameras have User Presets that can make this easy.

If I shot JPG I'd probably be one of those photographers. As it is, I shoot raw - other than +/-EC I concentrate on framing and composition when I'm out and deal with styles later, at leisure on the computer. I'm not missionarising here - just explaining some options.

-- hide signature --

Gerry
___________________________________________
First camera 1953, first Pentax 1985, first DSLR 2006
http://www.pbase.com/gerrywinterbourne
gerry.winterbourne@ntlworld.com

OP Brisn5757 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,302
Re: Rich colors

Gerry Winterbourne wrote:

Brisn5757 wrote:

Mark Scott Abeln wrote:

The simplest thing to do is to increase the 'Saturation' control in your camera. Most every advanced camera has this. Also, boosting the 'Contrast' control can make your images pop.

Some cameras have a 'Vivid' picture style or picture control, which boosts both the saturation and the contrast.

Thanks, I must try and experiment more with this option. The problem might be that what scene that one style is good for then another scene might not suit the style. I wonder if photographers keep changing the cameras style to suit the subject?

[I've also thinking of under exposing my photos by 1/3 stop by using the exposure compensation adjustment. I find that when taking a series of photos, normal , under exposed and over exposed by bracketing the shot, most of the under exposed shots look correct.]

I've copied the second paragraph (into square brackets) from another of your posts. The two things go together.

The way your camera sets exposure is based on a generic type of picture; that may be a bit too bright for some types of picture, a bit too dark for others. If your pictures are generally of similar style and subjects it could well be that it is one where the camera's exposure is a bit too bright so -1/3EC compensates.

If, however, you shoot a range of subjects and styles some of them may be of the types that need a bit of +EC. I suspect that some photographers do alter their camera settings differently for different types of subject (and in more ways than just +/-EC). Some cameras have User Presets that can make this easy.

If I shot JPG I'd probably be one of those photographers. As it is, I shoot raw - other than +/-EC I concentrate on framing and composition when I'm out and deal with styles later, at leisure on the computer. I'm not missionarising here - just explaining some options.

Thanks Gerry.

I feel that what stops people like myself in altering setting is in trying to remember how to alter the settings. The easier a camera is to use the better. I keep forgetting how to adjust the exposure compensation. My Canon 70D is a great that it's loaded with features but I wish it had a extra dial to make exposure compensation easy to adjust. It is common to want to adjust the camera slightly to increase or decrease the exposure so exposure compensation is often used; it should be easier to use. The Camera has a quick menu which you can use by touchibg items on the screen so that can help.

Brian

 Brisn5757's gear list:Brisn5757's gear list
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX70 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX200V Sony RX100 IV Olympus SP-570 UZ Canon EOS 70D +8 more
Gerry Winterbourne Forum Pro • Posts: 14,482
Re: Those wonderful rich colours in photos?
1

Brisn5757 wrote:

Public gardens

This is not exactly what I saw but I think I might have had the light against me. I don't think there is any way of enhancing this photo.

How about this? You need to look at original size for the differences to show.

This picture is quite useful because it shows some of the limitations of photography when related to what we see.

White balance first: I warmed WB a little, which went part way to bringing out the flowers, but that made the sky wrong. What I did was to adjust the whole picture and then cut out the sky from the original and pasted it over the adjusted version.

Dynamic range: some of the clouds are clipped to white and that's not fixable; a lot of the shadows look solid black but there is, in fact, some detail there. When looking at the flower beds you don't actively peer into the dark shadows under the trees and shrubs but you are subconsciously aware that there are things to be seen. It's easy to overdo shadow recovery but with back lighting like this it usually helps to open up a bit.

Selective vision: this is the tricky bit. Our eye-brain combination has evolved to select things that matter from the general mass of light. Think, for example, of picking out the tiger from the tall grass. In this sort of picture the things that mater are the blooms, so as you looked at the scene your brain subconsciously paid more attention to them.

Each eye has about 6 million cones (what we see colours with) and only about 2 million of those are tuned for reds. Compared to a high-MP camera that seems trivial; but we see by flicking our eyes constantly from one point of interest to another, and the brain makes a composite of about the last half-minute's flickers. That adds up to a lot of cones recording the important (in this case) red parts.

Here I've simulated that by boosting both saturation and luminance in the reds and oranges. By putting more cones on each point in the scene the eye captures more detail; I've added a small amount of sharpening to enhance the detail.

However - and here's the biggie - this type of scene really doesn't lend itself to wide-view photography. When the thing that interests you is flowers it's better to get closer to them. You can use a wide view to set a context but don't expect it to look vibrant.

-- hide signature --

Gerry
___________________________________________
First camera 1953, first Pentax 1985, first DSLR 2006
http://www.pbase.com/gerrywinterbourne
gerry.winterbourne@ntlworld.com

OP Brisn5757 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,302
Re: Those wonderful rich colours in photos?

Gerry Winterbourne wrote:

Brisn5757 wrote:

Public gardens

This is not exactly what I saw but I think I might have had the light against me. I don't think there is any way of enhancing this photo.

How about this? You need to look at original size for the differences to show.

This picture is quite useful because it shows some of the limitations of photography when related to what we see.

White balance first: I warmed WB a little, which went part way to bringing out the flowers, but that made the sky wrong. What I did was to adjust the whole picture and then cut out the sky from the original and pasted it over the adjusted version.

Dynamic range: some of the clouds are clipped to white and that's not fixable; a lot of the shadows look solid black but there is, in fact, some detail there. When looking at the flower beds you don't actively peer into the dark shadows under the trees and shrubs but you are subconsciously aware that there are things to be seen. It's easy to overdo shadow recovery but with back lighting like this it usually helps to open up a bit.

Selective vision: this is the tricky bit. Our eye-brain combination has evolved to select things that matter from the general mass of light. Think, for example, of picking out the tiger from the tall grass. In this sort of picture the things that mater are the blooms, so as you looked at the scene your brain subconsciously paid more attention to them.

Each eye has about 6 million cones (what we see colours with) and only about 2 million of those are tuned for reds. Compared to a high-MP camera that seems trivial; but we see by flicking our eyes constantly from one point of interest to another, and the brain makes a composite of about the last half-minute's flickers. That adds up to a lot of cones recording the important (in this case) red parts.

Here I've simulated that by boosting both saturation and luminance in the reds and oranges. By putting more cones on each point in the scene the eye captures more detail; I've added a small amount of sharpening to enhance the detail.

However - and here's the biggie - this type of scene really doesn't lend itself to wide-view photography. When the thing that interests you is flowers it's better to get closer to them. You can use a wide view to set a context but don't expect it to look vibrant.

Thanks Gerry for taking the time to work on my photo. I've learn from what you have done which is valuable knowlege to me.

The aim was to capture the overall scene I then move closer to capture the roses.

I have a feeling that if I had come back to this place an hour or so later then the lighting direction might have been better.

Brian

 Brisn5757's gear list:Brisn5757's gear list
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX70 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX200V Sony RX100 IV Olympus SP-570 UZ Canon EOS 70D +8 more
Gerry Winterbourne Forum Pro • Posts: 14,482
Re: Those wonderful rich colours in photos?
1

Brisn5757 wrote:

Gerry Winterbourne wrote:

Brisn5757 wrote:

Public gardens

This is not exactly what I saw but I think I might have had the light against me. I don't think there is any way of enhancing this photo.

How about this? You need to look at original size for the differences to show.

This picture is quite useful because it shows some of the limitations of photography when related to what we see.

White balance first: I warmed WB a little, which went part way to bringing out the flowers, but that made the sky wrong. What I did was to adjust the whole picture and then cut out the sky from the original and pasted it over the adjusted version.

Dynamic range: some of the clouds are clipped to white and that's not fixable; a lot of the shadows look solid black but there is, in fact, some detail there. When looking at the flower beds you don't actively peer into the dark shadows under the trees and shrubs but you are subconsciously aware that there are things to be seen. It's easy to overdo shadow recovery but with back lighting like this it usually helps to open up a bit.

Selective vision: this is the tricky bit. Our eye-brain combination has evolved to select things that matter from the general mass of light. Think, for example, of picking out the tiger from the tall grass. In this sort of picture the things that mater are the blooms, so as you looked at the scene your brain subconsciously paid more attention to them.

Each eye has about 6 million cones (what we see colours with) and only about 2 million of those are tuned for reds. Compared to a high-MP camera that seems trivial; but we see by flicking our eyes constantly from one point of interest to another, and the brain makes a composite of about the last half-minute's flickers. That adds up to a lot of cones recording the important (in this case) red parts.

Here I've simulated that by boosting both saturation and luminance in the reds and oranges. By putting more cones on each point in the scene the eye captures more detail; I've added a small amount of sharpening to enhance the detail.

However - and here's the biggie - this type of scene really doesn't lend itself to wide-view photography. When the thing that interests you is flowers it's better to get closer to them. You can use a wide view to set a context but don't expect it to look vibrant.

Thanks Gerry for taking the time to work on my photo. I've learn from what you have done which is valuable knowlege to me.

You're welcome, Brian.

The aim was to capture the overall scene I then move closer to capture the roses.

Sure. That's often a good idea; but just be prepared for the fact that your overall pictures will usually lack rich colouration.

I have a feeling that if I had come back to this place an hour or so later then the lighting direction might have been better.

Looking at the angle of the shadows I think it would need at least four hours to make a significant difference. While it would be nice to have perfect lighting every time we must learn either (a) to accept the hand we're dealt or (b) find creative ways of using the light that's there.

I used -2.5 EC here to compensate for the fact that the light was dead in front. As it happens this was the garden of a hotel we stayed at so I could come back at any time if I'd wanted; but it shows how we can cope with what we get. Note, too, that I made sure I had some strong colours in the foreground.

Here I used the back lighting to bring out the detail against the background.

-- hide signature --

Gerry
___________________________________________
First camera 1953, first Pentax 1985, first DSLR 2006
http://www.pbase.com/gerrywinterbourne
gerry.winterbourne@ntlworld.com

Aberaeron Veteran Member • Posts: 6,748
Re: Rich colors

Brisn5757 wrote:

Gerry Winterbourne wrote:

Brisn5757 wrote:

Mark Scott Abeln wrote:

The simplest thing to do is to increase the 'Saturation' control in your camera. Most every advanced camera has this. Also, boosting the 'Contrast' control can make your images pop.

Some cameras have a 'Vivid' picture style or picture control, which boosts both the saturation and the contrast.

Thanks, I must try and experiment more with this option. The problem might be that what scene that one style is good for then another scene might not suit the style. I wonder if photographers keep changing the cameras style to suit the subject?

[I've also thinking of under exposing my photos by 1/3 stop by using the exposure compensation adjustment. I find that when taking a series of photos, normal , under exposed and over exposed by bracketing the shot, most of the under exposed shots look correct.]

I've copied the second paragraph (into square brackets) from another of your posts. The two things go together.

The way your camera sets exposure is based on a generic type of picture; that may be a bit too bright for some types of picture, a bit too dark for others. If your pictures are generally of similar style and subjects it could well be that it is one where the camera's exposure is a bit too bright so -1/3EC compensates.

If, however, you shoot a range of subjects and styles some of them may be of the types that need a bit of +EC. I suspect that some photographers do alter their camera settings differently for different types of subject (and in more ways than just +/-EC). Some cameras have User Presets that can make this easy.

If I shot JPG I'd probably be one of those photographers. As it is, I shoot raw - other than +/-EC I concentrate on framing and composition when I'm out and deal with styles later, at leisure on the computer. I'm not missionarising here - just explaining some options.

Thanks Gerry.

I feel that what stops people like myself in altering setting is in trying to remember how to alter the settings. The easier a camera is to use the better. I keep forgetting how to adjust the exposure compensation. My Canon 70D is a great that it's loaded with features but I wish it had a extra dial to make exposure compensation easy to adjust. It is common to want to adjust the camera slightly to increase or decrease the exposure so exposure compensation is often used; it should be easier to use. The Camera has a quick menu which you can use by touchibg items on the screen so that can help.

Brian

Surely the rear dial is used for exposure compensation on the 70D? What could be easier than that? Or am I missing something fundamental here?

 Aberaeron's gear list:Aberaeron's gear list
Fujifilm X20 Sony SLT-A57 Olympus OM-D E-M10 Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 Olympus 7-14mm F2.8 Pro +21 more
TacticDesigns
TacticDesigns Veteran Member • Posts: 5,246
Re: White Balance? Underexpose to preserve colour?

Brisn5757 wrote:

TacticDesigns wrote:

Brisn5757 wrote:

Mark Blauhoefer wrote:

There are many software programs and plugins (many free) that can be used to enhance photos. Some are a simple preset click, and others have as many different oprions as ways to enhance the image.

What type of camera are you using? Software? Are you shooting in RAW?

Have you googled 'How to enhance landscape/portrait/church/wedding etc photos'?

I mainly shot in jpg but am keen to try raw.

What white balance are you taking your pictures?

If taking with auto white balance (AWB) remember that the camera is constantly trying to neutralize your pictures. I actually shoot AWB all the time and then try to shift the colour from there mostly.

But . . . remember that when shooting JPG, that that colour balance is used to create the JPG and a lot of potential colour information gets thrown away. (No place for it in a JPG.)

Shooting RAW, you can still shoot AWB, but . . . since all the digital data captured by the sensor gets stuffed into the RAW file, you can go back and completely choose a different colour balance and the post processing software will have all the original data to work with.

If you have the time, shooting RAW will give you the most options with the capture.

My main camera is Canon 70D. I use photoshop. I'll try your google suggestion.

Last year I took a lake that had the red reflection from a red tree growing near the lake but I had a lot of trouble trying to recreate what I saw. To try and get more red in the water it started to look unnatural.

Sometimes cameras have a sunrise / sunset setting? I am guessing that these settings might affect the colour balance setting to try to preserve more of the sunrise / sunset colours?

Also . . . with sunrise or sunset shots, one old trick was to underexpose the shot a bit, and then brighten up the picture in post.

This was supposed to preserve some of the colour at the brighter areas. Rather than let the colour bleach out to white.

This could result in more colourful sunrise / sunset pictures.

Take care & Happy Shooting!

Brian

Hi TacticDesigns.

I've also thinking of under exposing my photos by 1/3 stop by using the exposure compensation adjustment. I find that when taking a series of photos, normal , under exposed and over exposed by bracketing the shot, most of the under exposed shots look correct.

Brian

+1

I guess that is the true trick.

Cameras on auto (whether autofocus, or auto exposure) are only following a program. Guessing at what a good shot would look like.

But . . . we as the photographer can decide that that is "not" what we want. That is not the look we are looking for.

Once you go walking down that lane, the door is wide open.

The trick is to know what is there. Where you want to end up. And how does the camera in your hands work in order to capture an image that will have enough detail (data) to allow you to post process it to how you want it to end up.

And the starting point and the end point don't always need to have much in common.

Sorta an Ansel Adams sort of thing.

Take care & Happy Shooting!

-- hide signature --
 TacticDesigns's gear list:TacticDesigns's gear list
Fujifilm XP80 Nikon D5100 Nikon D750 Pentax Q Nikon D7000 +7 more
davidedric Veteran Member • Posts: 5,011
Re: Those wonderful rich colours in photos?

They are also now owned by DxO , but still free.  DxO have incorporated Nik Control Point technology into their new PhotoLab, but are promising more for next year.

Dave

 davidedric's gear list:davidedric's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5 Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 Panasonic G85 Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 II ASPH Mega OIS Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-140mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH. / Power O.I.S +2 more
Brad Bohland
Brad Bohland Senior Member • Posts: 6,258
Re: Saturation

Brisn5757 wrote:

Brisn5757 wrote:

Brad Bohland wrote:

Brisn5757 wrote:

I've seen some great photos on the internet such as rich strong colours in church interiors or garden scenery and was wondering if most of it is the result of post production, if not then is it one factor such as good lens or maybe a good sensor.

Some cameras produce richer colors than others. My first camera was a Sony S50 and had very rich colors.

My second camera was a Nikon P7700 and I had to turn up the saturation to get rich color similar to the Sony.

My FZ1000 has rich colors like the Sony which don't require increasing the saturation.

In love the rich red in your photos Brad.

Brian

The Photo taken with the Sony S50 is my pick of photos.

I agree.

The S50 was 2MP and came out in 2000 (https://www.dpreview.com/products/sony/compacts/sony_dscs50 ) but it took great pictures.

The 2 cameras I've had since then were "more" camera but didn't take a better picture.

Dutch Newchurch
Dutch Newchurch Senior Member • Posts: 5,364
Re: Those wonderful rich colours in photos?

Brisn5757 wrote:

Brisn5757 wrote:

I've seen some great photos on the internet such as rich strong colours in church interiors or garden scenery and was wondering if most of it is the result of post production, if not then is it one factor such as good lens or maybe a good sensor.

I've tried to bring out rich colours in some of my photos in post-production but often when enhancing the photo starts to look surreal; so I'm thinking if something is missing in the first place its difficult to create in post production.

Comments are welcome thanks.

Brian

I had some requests to show photos that I have had problems with.

Lake Refection 1

Lake Refection 2

I tried to recreate what I saw with the camera but failed. I saw beauty in the reflection of the tree in the lake. Trying from a different point of view reduced the red refection on the lake.

These photos are straight from the camera. I tried to enhance the photo but then it became too surreal.

Brian

That reflection is lovely.  I think the problem is that you have both your subject (the reflection) and the light source (the sunshine on the trees) in the same shot.

I think you might have got the shot of what caught your eye if you'd just framed the shot tighter, and excluded the sunshine.

I've similar thoughts on the other shot you posted; I'll comment on that too.

-- hide signature --

Dutch
forestmoonstudio.co.uk
Photography is about light, not light-proof boxes.

Dutch Newchurch
Dutch Newchurch Senior Member • Posts: 5,364
Re: Those wonderful rich colours in photos?

Brisn5757 wrote:

Brisn5757 wrote:

I've seen some great photos on the internet such as rich strong colours in church interiors or garden scenery and was wondering if most of it is the result of post production, if not then is it one factor such as good lens or maybe a good sensor.

I've tried to bring out rich colours in some of my photos in post-production but often when enhancing the photo starts to look surreal; so I'm thinking if something is missing in the first place its difficult to create in post production.

Comments are welcome thanks.

Brian

One more example

Public gardens

This is not exactly what I saw but I think I might have had the light against me. I don't think there is any way of enhancing this photo.

Brian

Brian, do you use a polarising filter? I think that might have helped here.

Again, I think the problem is the sunshine! The grass is catching the light well, but the shrub is reflecting it off its leaves. We are naturally drawn to look at the brightest objects in a photo (like the white shirt). I often try to compose the sky out of my photos for that reason.

It's less fun visiting a garden when it's a grey day, but the colours are naturally more intense in soft light. For example, this shot would be much less effective if it had been sunny:

Longstock Park Water Gardens

-- hide signature --

Dutch
forestmoonstudio.co.uk
Photography is about light, not light-proof boxes.

graybalanced Veteran Member • Posts: 6,326
Re: Those wonderful rich colours in photos?
4

Two useful insights in one post:

Krav Maga wrote:

One thing is to be cautious with simply increasing saturation or going into "vivid" mode.

Yes, because many colors like skin tones can become unrealistic when oversaturated. It is important to know when you've gone too far, and back off.

Related to that, when you're in software that has Vibrance in addition to Saturation, it is useful to try Vibrance since it helps protect those skin tones among other things.

Krav Maga wrote:

after playing with the balance of complementary colors, which actually increases color contrast

This is a point I don't think anyone else has made in the thread, but it's extremely important.

Nearly all of the solutions in the thread so far are technology related. Buy this camera, buy that lens, get this software, change that setting.

But one of the most important color tools a photographer has is a knowledge of color theory. If you approached a painter and asked them how they got such vivid colors, an inexperienced painter would tell you it's because they bought these expensive paints. An experienced painter would tell you all about how they build color palettes for maximum effect, and how they place certain colors next to other colors in the picture composition.

If you study some color theory and understand concepts like analogous colors, complementary colors, color contrast, etc. like a painter does, you could produce the effect of vivid colors with almost any camera technology in your hand, even an old film camera or cheap smartphone. You would achieve it by how you choose which colors to include in the frame and next to each other. How vivid the same shade of green looks next to blue is different than next to gray, or next to red.

If the original poster mastered this, you could produce more vivid-looking pictures than another photographer even if you were both handed the same camera in the same place with the camera saturation set to normal.

Just Tim 3 Contributing Member • Posts: 880
Re: Those wonderful rich colours in photos?

graybalanced wrote:

Two useful insights in one post:

Krav Maga wrote:

One thing is to be cautious with simply increasing saturation or going into "vivid" mode.

Yes, because many colors like skin tones can become unrealistic when oversaturated. It is important to know when you've gone too far, and back off.

Related to that, when you're in software that has Vibrance in addition to Saturation, it is useful to try Vibrance since it helps protect those skin tones among other things.

Krav Maga wrote:

after playing with the balance of complementary colors, which actually increases color contrast

This is a point I don't think anyone else has made in the thread, but it's extremely important.

Nearly all of the solutions in the thread so far are technology related. Buy this camera, buy that lens, get this software, change that setting.

But one of the most important color tools a photographer has is a knowledge of color theory. If you approached a painter and asked them how they got such vivid colors, an inexperienced painter would tell you it's because they bought these expensive paints. An experienced painter would tell you all about how they build color palettes for maximum effect, and how they place certain colors next to other colors in the picture composition.

If you study some color theory and understand concepts like analogous colors, complementary colors, color contrast, etc. like a painter does, you could produce the effect of vivid colors with almost any camera technology in your hand, even an old film camera or cheap smartphone. You would achieve it by how you choose which colors to include in the frame and next to each other. How vivid the same shade of green looks next to blue is different than next to gray, or next to red.

If the original poster mastered this, you could produce more vivid-looking pictures than another photographer even if you were both handed the same camera in the same place with the camera saturation set to normal.

Yep, absolutely. If you're going to edit colour then it pays to learn about it.

JayDelvenne
JayDelvenne Junior Member • Posts: 36
Re: Those wonderful rich colours in photos?

Brisn5757 wrote:

I've seen some great photos on the internet such as rich strong colours in church interiors or garden scenery and was wondering if most of it is the result of post production, if not then is it one factor such as good lens or maybe a good sensor.

I've tried to bring out rich colours in some of my photos in post-production but often when enhancing the photo starts to look surreal; so I'm thinking if something is missing in the first place its difficult to create in post production.

Comments are welcome thanks.

Brian

Hi Brian,

I've been looking for new ways to boost colors in my photographs as well.  I found that shooting in RAW format is step one.  That way I have those different levels to work with.  I then bring the photo into Adobe Lightroom and adjust some contrast, fix exposure, clarity... etc...  After the basics are taken care of, I bring the image into photoshop and play around with different techniques.

One of the things I like to use to get a real boost is the HDR toning, you can find it in the upper menu under IMAGES-> ADJUSTMENTS->HDR TONING.  I play around with some of the sliders and the curve and have gotten some really nice results without the image looking over the top.

-- hide signature --

Regards,

Jay Delvenne

Krav Maga Senior Member • Posts: 2,225
Re: Those wonderful rich colours in photos?

Brisn5757 wrote:

Brisn5757 wrote:

I've seen some great photos on the internet such as rich strong colours in church interiors or garden scenery and was wondering if most of it is the result of post production, if not then is it one factor such as good lens or maybe a good sensor.

I've tried to bring out rich colours in some of my photos in post-production but often when enhancing the photo starts to look surreal; so I'm thinking if something is missing in the first place its difficult to create in post production.

Comments are welcome thanks.

Brian

One more example

Public gardens

This is not exactly what I saw but I think I might have had the light against me. I don't think there is any way of enhancing this photo.

Brian

Here is my take on this photo:

As noted before, look at it at original size.

Also, sense taste is so subjective, this may not even be close to what you have in mind. This is just how I see things

There's actually quite a lot that can be done to the photo. In Photoshop the first thing I did was crop to rotate it a bit to make it level; making the verticals in the building straight. Then I used a curves adjustment layer to find light and dark point. I then used a Hue-Saturation layer to deal with the overall green cast. I then used a selective color layer to add just a tiny bit of cyan to the sky. Next I used a color balance layer to add just a touch of red against the cyan, a bit of magenta against the green and a tiny bit of blue against the yellow. Looking at it now, I probably should have put a bit more blue against the yellow.

Then the next thing I did was open the shadows just a bit and play about with the highlights in order to bring out more detail in the clouds. After that I tweaked the contrast a bit with a curves layer; just a tiny bit.

I then used Nik Tonal Contrast on the sky because I'm a cloud junkie. But I tiny bit goes a long ways. The opacity for that layer is just 10%. After that I added a color fill layer in Overlay mode. The color I used is a sort of orange color: d39d0a. With an opacity of just 2%. Just enough to warm it ever so slightly.

Finally, I brought the global saturation down -7.

In total 11 layers were used.

-- hide signature --

I feel more like I do now than I did before ...
https://www.flickr.com/photos/144454453@N02/

 Krav Maga's gear list:Krav Maga's gear list
Nikon D750 Nikon D5200 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm F1.8G Tamron SP 70-300mm F4-5.6 Di VC USD +3 more
OP Brisn5757 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,302
Re: Those wonderful rich colours in photos?

Gerry Winterbourne wrote:

Brisn5757 wrote:

Gerry Winterbourne wrote:

Brisn5757 wrote:

Public gardens

This is not exactly what I saw but I think I might have had the light against me. I don't think there is any way of enhancing this photo.

How about this? You need to look at original size for the differences to show.

This picture is quite useful because it shows some of the limitations of photography when related to what we see.

White balance first: I warmed WB a little, which went part way to bringing out the flowers, but that made the sky wrong. What I did was to adjust the whole picture and then cut out the sky from the original and pasted it over the adjusted version.

Dynamic range: some of the clouds are clipped to white and that's not fixable; a lot of the shadows look solid black but there is, in fact, some detail there. When looking at the flower beds you don't actively peer into the dark shadows under the trees and shrubs but you are subconsciously aware that there are things to be seen. It's easy to overdo shadow recovery but with back lighting like this it usually helps to open up a bit.

Selective vision: this is the tricky bit. Our eye-brain combination has evolved to select things that matter from the general mass of light. Think, for example, of picking out the tiger from the tall grass. In this sort of picture the things that mater are the blooms, so as you looked at the scene your brain subconsciously paid more attention to them.

Each eye has about 6 million cones (what we see colours with) and only about 2 million of those are tuned for reds. Compared to a high-MP camera that seems trivial; but we see by flicking our eyes constantly from one point of interest to another, and the brain makes a composite of about the last half-minute's flickers. That adds up to a lot of cones recording the important (in this case) red parts.

Here I've simulated that by boosting both saturation and luminance in the reds and oranges. By putting more cones on each point in the scene the eye captures more detail; I've added a small amount of sharpening to enhance the detail.

However - and here's the biggie - this type of scene really doesn't lend itself to wide-view photography. When the thing that interests you is flowers it's better to get closer to them. You can use a wide view to set a context but don't expect it to look vibrant.

Thanks Gerry for taking the time to work on my photo. I've learn from what you have done which is valuable knowlege to me.

You're welcome, Brian.

The aim was to capture the overall scene I then move closer to capture the roses.

Sure. That's often a good idea; but just be prepared for the fact that your overall pictures will usually lack rich colouration.

I have a feeling that if I had come back to this place an hour or so later then the lighting direction might have been better.

Looking at the angle of the shadows I think it would need at least four hours to make a significant difference. While it would be nice to have perfect lighting every time we must learn either (a) to accept the hand we're dealt or (b) find creative ways of using the light that's there.

I used -2.5 EC here to compensate for the fact that the light was dead in front. As it happens this was the garden of a hotel we stayed at so I could come back at any time if I'd wanted; but it shows how we can cope with what we get. Note, too, that I made sure I had some strong colours in the foreground.

Here I used the back lighting to bring out the detail against the background.

Thanks for the example photos Gerry. It shows what is possible.

I also posted a photo of a red reflection in a lake as requested from someone in this forum as I had problems with this photo then they wanted to see how I had tried to enhance the photo which I also posted. It's under the same subject heading. No one has given me any comments on these lake photos so I'm pleased I got some comments on my garden photo.

I liked the improvements you made to my garden photo.

Brian

 Brisn5757's gear list:Brisn5757's gear list
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX70 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX200V Sony RX100 IV Olympus SP-570 UZ Canon EOS 70D +8 more
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads