why do digital files colours looks so bad without post

Started 4 months ago | Questions
OP whosthatwhatsthat Forum Member • Posts: 84
Re: Routine shots. Shrug.

David1961 wrote:

hotdog321 wrote:

whosthatwhatsthat wrote:

As a heads up, I know the title is going to cause a stir, please take it with a pinch of salt. Of course, many factors come into play.

My reason is I want to know what is that gives these images more of a high-end look, they're by Juergen Teller for W mag from January 2020.

Even the shot of Joaquin Phoenix indoors looks great, I believe its just natural light but I'm curious as to how it doesn't have that sort of washed or flat look that digital can produce indoors.

Are these images desaturated then in certain areas more colour contrast is brought in?

Please do not just say he can afford great post-production, yes we know that but I want to know how it's done and also any tips into creating shots like these when shooting to make images seem more high-end and luxurious.

These are pretty routine shots that could be shot by almost anyone.

Exactly. Totally agree.

If these were shot professionally then the professional photographers I am used to dealing with have by far superior photography and post processing skills than whoever took these photos.

Perhaps a large softbox was used for the primary light, but there is no fill or background light and the background, especially in the second shot, is dropping off to darkness. The colors are nothing special and in the first shot the background is actually turning an unpleasant cyan. The front bumper area of the vehicle is turning featureless, dead black with no shadow detail. The clutter with the traffic cone and door is distracting.

Yes, the setup and composition is very poor and unprofessional.

I certainly would not accept crooked photos like these two from a professional photographer.

it's a dutch tilt, it's a stylistic choice

I simply do not understand your comment about digital images looking "washed out." It could be you need to reexamine your own image handling techniques and post processing procedures. Properly shot and processed digital files produce rich, creamy colors that are--for me--superior in every respect to film.

For me, these 2 photos are not even close to high-end.

When I need some inspiration from high-end photos, my "go to" is:

https://500px.com/popular

Ellis Vener
Ellis Vener Forum Pro • Posts: 13,826
Re: why do digital files colours looks so bad without post

57even wrote:

whosthatwhatsthat wrote:

so would you say something like

custom white balance

maybe something along the lines of f2.8 , 1/160th and 100iso ???

although the car is really heavily in focus so I wonder what aperture

Exposure is about balancing tones, not f/numbers and shutter speeds.

BINGO!

You use whatever exposure you need to make sure the elements are well exposed and and balanced, well separated from each other tonally, and the depth of field is where you want it to be,

2X!

You can, if you need to, change the tonal balance later using a tone curve because you can't do that with the camera, but you don't want to make big changes, so getting the light on the subject right is really important.

But its about proportions, not numbers. On a scale of black shadows to almost clipped highlights, where do you want the various elements to end up?

Sure, using white balance calibration helps, but setting up the scene and getting the light on the subject just right is 90% of the job.

Only on a gear forum to people think its the exposure settings. That's the simple bit, just look at the images on the LCD until you like them.

Great post!

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Mark Scott Abeln
Mark Scott Abeln Forum Pro • Posts: 15,685
Re: Questions

whosthatwhatsthat wrote:

Mark Scott Abeln wrote:

You can take the grey card with you, and you can either use it to get a manual white balance in the camera, or photograph it in the scene in your first photo. Raw processing software can then adjust the white balance according to the photo of the grey card.

i think i would set manually in camera as not all situations you can tether

I'm not sure that tethering has anything to do with this.

By placing a neutral target in a photograph, you can adjust the white balance in your raw processor.

When I started, I used the gray card all of the time, but with experience, I find that I hardly ever need it anymore.

is this because you have learnt to eyeball it

Yes, I can eyeball it because I have a calibrated monitor; I would not suggest adjusting color by sight with a non-calibrated monitor.

But I also adjust color by the color values found in the image file, and by other means.

What color profiles do you use in this software? You’ll have a variety of options such as Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Portrait, Landscape, and possibly many more.

where can I find this, when I open my raw in photoshop it brings up the option of camera raw filter and I go from there

Do you have the latest version of Photoshop? The color profiles are listed near the top of the menu in Adobe Camera Raw:

Notice "Adobe Color" is selected by default. You can change this, and very many profiles are available, including some which attempt to match the native JPEG color rendering of the camera.

These profiles control the overall color and tonal rendering of the raw files and I would suggest that you investigate how these influence your images before you do other edits.

I changed my camera mode to neutral recently

As mentioned elsewhere, Adobe Camera Raw will ignore this setting. You have to go into the Profile feature shown above and select "Camera Neutral" to get a similar effect.

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OP whosthatwhatsthat Forum Member • Posts: 84
Re: why do digital files colours looks so bad without post

Brev00 wrote:

whosthatwhatsthat wrote:

As a heads up, I know the title is going to cause a stir, please take it with a pinch of salt.

I think the reason you are aware that your title may be incendiary is because you are implying your preference for film by attacking digital. You could have expressed this more openly,positively, and subjectively: Why do I Like Film colors so Much. For example.

negative f course, many factors come into play.

My reason is I want to know what is that gives these images more of a high-end look, they're by Juergen Teller for W mag from January 2020.

Perhaps because you like the looks and/or acting chops of these particular celebrities? Can't blame you. Joaquin is unbelievable. Why he didn't even get nominated for Walk the Line while Reese won her category is beyond me.

Even the shot of Joaquin Phoenix indoors looks great, I believe its just natural light but I'm curious as to how it doesn't have that sort of washed or flat look that digital can produce indoors.

The shots are evenly lit as others have mentioned. But, I don't know what you mean by flat. Film is designed to create specific color palettes while unprocessed digital files have a more neutral appearance especially when using a neutral or flat (!) profile (and raw). Added saturation in digital files looks like saturation has been added while with film, we accept the inherent level of saturation since it has an internal coherence. And we like the type of film we like. We like Velvia but not because it is realistic. If we shoot jpegs, we can create our own profile presets.

Are these images desaturated then in certain areas more colour contrast is brought in?

Please do not just say he can afford great post-production, yes we know that but I want to know how it's done and also any tips into creating shots like these when shooting to make images seem more high-end and luxurious.

I am not a portrait photographer, but I think a lot depends on the set up. Lighting and white balance cards, for example. There is also the matter of perspective and composition. These shots are taken level to the subject. The intention is to create a real connection with the subject.

interesting point there!

With the pic of the woman, the intention is to create drama. That's the reason for the backlighting. With dramatic shots comes increased post work. The intention is to create an impression on the viewer rather than a connection to the subject. The sense of unreality is accepted. Except by certain, perceptive sorts like yourself.

I retired from film long ago so am completely in the world of digital. So, I unconsciously accept the appearance of digital. I have nothing to compare it to!

OP whosthatwhatsthat Forum Member • Posts: 84
Re: why do digital files colours looks so bad without post

Unagi Shiruba wrote:

Careful styling and propping go into making such a casual realistic look. It also helps that he’s working with talented actors who know how to present themselves to the camera and that Juergen Teller knows what he wants out of a photograph. This kind of realism isn’t as easy to pull off as Teller makes it seem.

in the stock photo of the woman it’s so obviously lit and produced that it looks staged and thus it reads as untrue. It’s like photos you see of people laughing with wide open mouths in a way that no actually laughs.

precisely, good explanation

stevo23 Forum Pro • Posts: 24,466
Re: why do digital files colours looks so bad without post
1

knickerhawk wrote:

stevo23 wrote:

"All in the service of dedication to his art and style" - that is the halo bias. All because a professional is doing it, you now assume that he's hard at work, sweating away at his art and style. But would you say the same about me or Biggs or anyone who isn't an established professional? Care to test that? I've got tons of schlock I can show you...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67EKAIY43kg

Oh, I get it. You're shifting this just a bit to make it seem like I'm saying "I could do that". That's an interesting point, but no, that's not my point.

But hey, I only mimic amateur photography! You would never ever know how amazing I am at photography because I always and only mimc amateur work.

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Mark Scott Abeln
Mark Scott Abeln Forum Pro • Posts: 15,685
Re: Questions

whosthatwhatsthat wrote:

Mark Scott Abeln wrote:

Most of the creative controls in raw files are ignored by third-party raw processors such as Photoshop's Adobe Camera Raw. Things like contrast, saturation, color space, sharpness, and picture modes are ignored; you need to use the camera maker's own raw processor to access these settings.

right so what info from the raw does it take if it ignores all that?

It takes the raw data read from the sensor, and it can also read the white balance.

A common use for shooting raw is to *not* use the camera maker's idea of color rendering and image processing, or at least do something rather different.

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Ellis Vener
Ellis Vener Forum Pro • Posts: 13,826
Re: why do digital files colours looks so bad without post

whosthatwhatsthat wrote:

57even wrote:

whosthatwhatsthat wrote:

But its about proportions, not numbers. On a scale of black shadows to almost clipped highlights, where do you want the various elements to end up?

can you explain this a little further? is this where histograms come into play??

Much of the impact in a portrait comes from how the tones and colours in the subject (the person) relate to those in the rest of the scene (the background).

i'm trying to figure out how i can separate the tone of the person from the background with ambient light.

It starts with using your eyes.It ends with using your eyes and maybe your feet.

For instance, if the subject doesn't stand out from the background, you can reduce exposure to darken the background slightly and add a subtle kick of angled flash, or a hold a reflector off to one side, to brighten the subject.

is this through exposure comp too?

No. it's about paying attention to the relationship between the person ( or object) and the background.

You also want to prevent highlights in the subject from clipping. Caucasian skin can get very close to clipping, which is where histograms and blinkies come in.

this is what I need to look into and the zebra that you mentioned?

As I said, use your eyes. It also helps to know somethign aboutthe medium you are working in and with digital photography that means knowing something about color spaces and the dynamic range of the camera you are using.

Sometimes you can let the background blow out (high-key) but you normally have to use a white screen background and flood it with light to make it work.

would this be in a studio setup?

Not necessarily.

However, it's always possible to tweak relative contrast in post. When you see the image on a big monitor you may want to change the overall tonality a little - ie move the subject further up or down the scale.

Faces generally look better slightly above midtones for instance, but not too close to the highlights.

Just helps if it's nearly right to start with. Gives you more breathing room in post.

Also note, cinematographers and location photographers love diffuse indirect light. It's kinder to skin and doesn't stress your cameras DR. There's a good reason why studio windows point north, and when I used to do home and business portraits, I worked in a room with a north facing window, if I could find one.

dynamic range?

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora/photography/tips-and-solutions/dynamic-range-explained?BI=572

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stevo23 Forum Pro • Posts: 24,466
Re: why do digital files colours looks so bad without post

Biggs23 wrote:

whosthatwhatsthat wrote:

Biggs23 wrote:

I certainly don't *know* that they are, I simply suspect. Even if they aren't, these are mediocre images captured by a photographer that doesn't care about photography.

absolutely ridiculous statement

Why? The photographer himself said it: "I'm not interested in photography, I'm interested in how I can express my ideas and feelings."

Wish I could get in on that game. Seems like I have to try at it...

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OP whosthatwhatsthat Forum Member • Posts: 84
Re: It ain't the meat, it's the motion

Ellis Vener wrote:

First: I am ignoring the OP's original title for this thread because it has nothign to do with the questions he ( and most assuredly the OP is a he, you can tell by the tone of the post.)

Second: "de gustibus non disputandum est"

If you don't like the style of the photography there is no question : its not your cup of tea or how you'd do these assignments. And while you can question the taste of the art director or photo editor who commissioned Juergen Teller to make these portraits for W's Academy Award nominee issue, it's their taste and they didn't hire you or your favorite fashion photographer. I suspect they are in firm control of the look of their publication and know something about the tastes of their audience.

whosthatwhatsthat wrote:

My reason is I want to know what is that gives these images more of a high-end look, they're by Juergen Teller for W mag from January 2020.

Direction, styling, and the performance delivered by the actors and the selection of one frame over another.

That said ,there is nothing technically difficult or outwardly "artful" about these photos. there is no big production. if these videos are indicative of how Teller genrally works - https://www.nytimes.com/video/t-magazine/100000005037252/on-set-dave-chappelle.html?playlistId=video/on-set and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEg0HCtgCjg- Teller doesn't do big set ups with carefully crafted lighting that freezes the subject in place, and he definitely gets the subjects to play. In fact the shoots seem to be pretty low key. Along with the performances he gets out of his subjects that low key style might be a reason he gets hired for high profile projects like this.

it shows glamorous people in the most naturalistic way possible

His photography is about the surface of emotions.

Even the shot of Joaquin Phoenix indoors looks great, I believe its just natural light but I'm curious as to how it doesn't have that sort of washed or flat look that digital can produce indoors.

It' s all about the lighting and the styling, knowing what he wants, what light looks like ,and not overlighting. He is deliberately working at making highly styled, high pressure shoots look like snapshots. But snapshots in which there is nothign i nthem that he doesn't want i nthem.

yeah i agree, i think a lot of people are failing to see this and are jumping the gun saying they can do it but a lot of careful consideration and precission is here

Are these images desaturated then in certain areas more colour contrast is brought in?

Please do not just say he can afford great post-production, yes we know that but I want to know how it's done and also any tips into creating shots like these when shooting to make images seem more high-end and luxurious.

Three quotes from Richard Avedon that seem apt:

"I’ve worked out of a series of no’s. No to exquisite light, no to apparent compositions, no to the seduction of poses or narrative. And all these no’s force me to the “yes.” I have a white background. I have the person I’m interested in and the thing that happens between us.” – Richard Avedon

“A photographic portrait is a picture of someone who knows he’s being photographed, and what he does with this knowledge is as much a part of the photograph as what he’s wearing or how he looks. He’s implicated in what’s happened, and he has a certain real power over the result.” – Richard Avedon

“I am always stimulated by people. Almost never by ideas.” – Richard Avedon

OP whosthatwhatsthat Forum Member • Posts: 84
Re: Questions

Mark Scott Abeln wrote:

whosthatwhatsthat wrote:

Mark Scott Abeln wrote:

Most of the creative controls in raw files are ignored by third-party raw processors such as Photoshop's Adobe Camera Raw. Things like contrast, saturation, color space, sharpness, and picture modes are ignored; you need to use the camera maker's own raw processor to access these settings.

right so what info from the raw does it take if it ignores all that?

It takes the raw data read from the sensor, and it can also read the white balance.

so exposure settings?

A common use for shooting raw is to *not* use the camera maker's idea of color rendering and image processing, or at least do something rather different.

please explain?

OP whosthatwhatsthat Forum Member • Posts: 84
Re: Questions

Ellis Vener wrote:

Mark Scott Abeln wrote:

whosthatwhatsthat wrote:

so if i shoot with my camera picture mode set to neutral then import, photoshop will not read that?

Most of the creative controls in raw files are ignored by third-party raw processors such as Photoshop's Adobe Camera Raw. Things like contrast, saturation, color space, sharpness, and picture modes are ignored; you need to use the camera maker's own raw processor to access these settings.

However, Adobe Camera Raw has a multitude of camera profiles, including some which attempt to emulate cameras' built-in profiles.

And with both Adobe Camera Raw / Lightroom and CaptureOne Pro , you can use custom profiles for your camera. The simplest way to do this is with X-rite's free ColorCheckerPassport software (https://xritephoto.com/ph_product_overview.aspx?ID=938&Action=Support&SoftwareID=2030 and either the 24 patch target i nthe ColorCheckerPassport target set

so would i need to purchase the colorcheckerpassport and use the software by installing it as an addon for capture one or photoshop?

is there any point of the software without having the passport

https://smile.amazon.com/ColorChecker-Passport-Photo-2-MSCCPP-B/dp/B07PNCPZ8G/ref=sr_1_1_sspa

If you are not already profilign your display you might be interested in this combination:

https://smile.amazon.com/X-Rite-ColorChecker-Photo-Kit-EODISSTUCCPP-B/dp/B07XCWXQXR/ref=sr_1_7

profiling my display what is that?

OP whosthatwhatsthat Forum Member • Posts: 84
Re: Questions

Mark Scott Abeln wrote:

whosthatwhatsthat wrote:

Mark Scott Abeln wrote:

You can take the grey card with you, and you can either use it to get a manual white balance in the camera, or photograph it in the scene in your first photo. Raw processing software can then adjust the white balance according to the photo of the grey card.

i think i would set manually in camera as not all situations you can tether

I'm not sure that tethering has anything to do with this.

By placing a neutral target in a photograph, you can adjust the white balance in your raw processor.

but then surely if not tethering you've done your whole shoot only to then have to adjust everything in your raw processor to correct it. so what does the neutral target do, or I set my white balance according to the neutral target in camera.

When I started, I used the gray card all of the time, but with experience, I find that I hardly ever need it anymore.

is this because you have learnt to eyeball it

Yes, I can eyeball it because I have a calibrated monitor; I would not suggest adjusting color by sight with a non-calibrated monitor.

how do you calibrate a monitor do you calibrate to be in line with your camera or??

But I also adjust color by the color values found in the image file, and by other means.

how do I find the colour values is that from the colour profiles in raw processor

What color profiles do you use in this software? You’ll have a variety of options such as Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Portrait, Landscape, and possibly many more.

where can I find this, when I open my raw in photoshop it brings up the option of camera raw filter and I go from there

Do you have the latest version of Photoshop? The color profiles are listed near the top of the menu in Adobe Camera Raw:

Notice "Adobe Color" is selected by default. You can change this, and very many profiles are available, including some which attempt to match the native JPEG color rendering of the camera.

but what if I don't want the jpeg colour, I'm shooting raw so why would I want it to replicate the jpeg render. is the jpeg render the one shown on my lcd?

but when I got to save for web I then need to change to srgb so wont there be a difference in colour?

These profiles control the overall color and tonal rendering of the raw files and I would suggest that you investigate how these influence your images before you do other edits.

I changed my camera mode to neutral recently

As mentioned elsewhere, Adobe Camera Raw will ignore this setting. You have to go into the Profile feature shown above and select "Camera Neutral" to get a similar effect.

right so whats the best way to achieve neutral camera settings? by importing and just selecting camera neutral on photoshop

MOD Biggs23 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,887
Re: It ain't the meat, it's the motion
1

whosthatwhatsthat wrote:

Ellis Vener wrote:

It' s all about the lighting and the styling, knowing what he wants, what light looks like ,and not overlighting. He is deliberately working at making highly styled, high pressure shoots look like snapshots. But snapshots in which there is nothign i nthem that he doesn't want i nthem.

yeah i agree, i think a lot of people are failing to see this and are jumping the gun saying they can do it but a lot of careful consideration and precission is here

There is little (or none) of either.

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stevo23 Forum Pro • Posts: 24,466
Re: It ain't the meat, it's the motion
2

Ellis Vener wrote:

First: I am ignoring the OP's original title for this thread because it has nothign to do with the questions he ( and most assuredly the OP is a he, you can tell by the tone of the post.)

Second: "de gustibus non disputandum est"

If you don't like the style of the photography there is no question : its not your cup of tea or how you'd do these assignments. And while you can question the taste of the art director or photo editor who commissioned Juergen Teller to make these portraits for W's Academy Award nominee issue, it's their taste and they didn't hire you or your favorite fashion photographer. I suspect they are in firm control of the look of their publication and know something about the tastes of their audience.

But that says nothing about anything really. Aren't we all tired of Bro Country? I think it's well established that it's schlock. And yet, someone in the record business knows this audience and continues to produce a stream of money printing songs that are essentially devoid of any artistic merit.

Do I care? Nope, glad they can make a living at it. But let's not confuse popular and profitable with anything else.

whosthatwhatsthat wrote:

My reason is I want to know what is that gives these images more of a high-end look, they're by Juergen Teller for W mag from January 2020.

Direction, styling, and the performance delivered by the actors and the selection of one frame over another.

That said ,there is nothing technically difficult or outwardly "artful" about these photos. there is no big production. if these videos are indicative of how Teller genrally works - https://www.nytimes.com/video/t-magazine/100000005037252/on-set-dave-chappelle.html?playlistId=video/on-set and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEg0HCtgCjg- Teller doesn't do big set ups with carefully crafted lighting that freezes the subject in place, and he definitely gets the subjects to play. In fact the shoots seem to be pretty low key. Along with the performances he gets out of his subjects that low key style might be a reason he gets hired for high profile projects like this.

His photography is about the surface of emotions.

But tell us what is great about the photos we've seen here? Not why it's popular or why it's good or what the audience is. Can you distinguish this from oh so many popular works? Remember, advertising is about exploitation of cognitive bias...

Three quotes from Richard Avedon that seem apt:

"I’ve worked out of a series of no’s. No to exquisite light, no to apparent compositions, no to the seduction of poses or narrative. And all these no’s force me to the “yes.” I have a white background. I have the person I’m interested in and the thing that happens between us.” – Richard Avedon

“A photographic portrait is a picture of someone who knows he’s being photographed, and what he does with this knowledge is as much a part of the photograph as what he’s wearing or how he looks. He’s implicated in what’s happened, and he has a certain real power over the result.” – Richard Avedon

“I am always stimulated by people. Almost never by ideas.” – Richard Avedon

In general, I like that idea. But I think if you start to decode a lot of his work, you'll see that his most successful and well reviewed work still follows gestalt principles. So not sure what he really said "no" to.

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Mark Scott Abeln
Mark Scott Abeln Forum Pro • Posts: 15,685
Re: Questions

whosthatwhatsthat wrote:

Mark Scott Abeln wrote:

whosthatwhatsthat wrote:

right so what info from the raw does it take if it ignores all that?

It takes the raw data read from the sensor, and it can also read the white balance.

so exposure settings?

Yes, raw processors can read the metadata stored in the raw file, and that includes the values of the f/stop, shutter speed, etc. as recorded by the camera. But even if third-party raw processors are able to read the metadata regarding camera settings, such as contrast, saturation, sharpness, etc., they generally won't do anything about it, because each camera manufacturer does things their own way and not according to a standard. Also, some metadata may be unreadable by third-party raw processors.

However, there are a few cameras which do use the standard DNG format for raw files, and presumably all of the camera settings are honored by third-party raw processors that support DNG.

A common use for shooting raw is to *not* use the camera maker's idea of color rendering and image processing, or at least do something rather different.

please explain?

If you have a Canon camera and you like Canon colors, then you can shoot JPEG and always get Canon colors. But what if you have Canon camera and don't want the Canon 'look'? Or suppose you want to heavily manipulate your photos in a way that isn't natively supported by the camera? Or suppose you don't have the time to get all of the JPEG settings exactly right? Raw shooting gives you as much flexility as possible without having the look determined by the camera maker. Or suppose you use various cameras during a photo shoot and you want the output to look as similar as possible, and so raw shooting and using a third-party raw processor can make everything look similar.

But most camera makers also supply raw processing software so that you can duplicate the camera JPEG 'look' while still having greater flexibility in processing.

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MOD Biggs23 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,887
Re: It ain't the meat, it's the motion

stevo23 wrote:

Three quotes from Richard Avedon that seem apt:

"I’ve worked out of a series of no’s. No to exquisite light, no to apparent compositions, no to the seduction of poses or narrative. And all these no’s force me to the “yes.” I have a white background. I have the person I’m interested in and the thing that happens between us.” – Richard Avedon

“A photographic portrait is a picture of someone who knows he’s being photographed, and what he does with this knowledge is as much a part of the photograph as what he’s wearing or how he looks. He’s implicated in what’s happened, and he has a certain real power over the result.” – Richard Avedon

“I am always stimulated by people. Almost never by ideas.” – Richard Avedon

In general, I like that idea. But I think if you start to decode a lot of his work, you'll see that his most successful and well reviewed work still follows gestalt principles. So not sure what he really said "no" to.

Arteests at the upper echelons of the art world almost universally begin to speak about art this way. I'm of the strong opinion that it's an intentional misdirection. After all, if they emphasize the technical, it becomes clear that many people dedicated to the craft could equal or exceed their accomplishments. On the other hand, if art is something intrinsic within only certain individuals, it remains out of reach, special, unattainable.

Maybe she's born with it, maybe it's Maybelline.

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knickerhawk Veteran Member • Posts: 6,991
Re: why do digital files colours looks so bad without post
1

whosthatwhatsthat wrote:

Biggs23 wrote:

whosthatwhatsthat wrote:

knickerhawk wrote:

Biggs23 wrote:

whosthatwhatsthat wrote:

The image definitely has this quality of prestige not only from the subject posing but I feel the colouring and image quality, you are right it is somewhat part of a new trend whereby Juergen Teller has adopted this naturalistic style to replace his golden film aesthetic previously.

After reading this, I decided to really dive into these images, and others like it. After finding a very large number compiled in an article (https://www.wmagazine.com/story/best-performances-2020/) I began to go through each image one by one. Eventually, I found this one:

Looking closely at this image (and others, but this one is the most obvious), it's quite clear to me that these images were captured with an iPhone.

This isn't special photography or editing, it's just laziness paired with mostly attractive people in mostly stylish clothing.

Reverse image search in Google sources this image to this girl's Instagram account, so no surprise there about it being from a phone. However, the Brad Pitt shot (I haven't checked the Joaquin Phoenix shot) was clearly done in a professional shoot. Not sure what your point is here.

you can see in the reflection

Based on the angle, I'm 99% sure that's not the photographer who took the shot above.

that is juergen teller though, the photographer, but I do understand geometrically how this shot wouldn't work

The shot DOES work. The model is standing at an angle relative to the reflecting glass behind her. That's why Teller's reflection is shifted to the side. Look closely again - the camera is positioned below the model's head and she's looking straight (downward) into the camera. Now, look were Teller is positioned in the reflection - he's straight in front of the model and crouching down somewhat. It's pretty obvious that HE's the one taking the shot. Of course, the premise that he's NOT the one taking the shot and somebody else (with an iPhone no less!) is the actual photographer is just plain bonkers.

57even Forum Pro • Posts: 14,733
Re: why do digital files colours looks so bad without post

whosthatwhatsthat wrote:

57even wrote:

whosthatwhatsthat wrote:

But its about proportions, not numbers. On a scale of black shadows to almost clipped highlights, where do you want the various elements to end up?

can you explain this a little further? is this where histograms come into play??

Much of the impact in a portrait comes from how the tones and colours in the subject (the person) relate to those in the rest of the scene (the background).

i'm trying to figure out how i can separate the tone of the person from the background with ambient light.

For instance, if the subject doesn't stand out from the background, you can reduce exposure to darken the background slightly and add a subtle kick of angled flash, or a hold a reflector off to one side, to brighten the subject.

is this through exposure comp too?

No. Exposure comp change the whole exposure. It's through changing the amount of light falling on the subject.

You also want to prevent highlights in the subject from clipping. Caucasian skin can get very close to clipping, which is where histograms and blinkies come in.

this is what I need to look into and the zebra that you mentioned?

Not me, but they work equally well.

Sometimes you can let the background blow out (high-key) but you normally have to use a white screen background and flood it with light to make it work.

would this be in a studio setup?

Yes, though it can work if you have backlight through trees, for instance.

However, it's always possible to tweak relative contrast in post. When you see the image on a big monitor you may want to change the overall tonality a little - ie move the subject further up or down the scale.

Faces generally look better slightly above midtones for instance, but not too close to the highlights.

Just helps if it's nearly right to start with. Gives you more breathing room in post.

Also note, cinematographers and location photographers love diffuse indirect light. It's kinder to skin and doesn't stress your cameras DR. There's a good reason why studio windows point north, and when I used to do home and business portraits, I worked in a room with a north facing window, if I could find one.

dynamic range?

Maximum contrast range your camera can capture without burying most of the tones in the shadows, or clipping the highlights.

Sure, using white balance calibration helps, but setting up the scene and getting the light on the subject just right is 90% of the job.

Only on a gear forum to people think its the exposure settings. That's the simple bit, just look at the images on the LCD until you like them.

so you are saying its all about light not exposure settings?

Exposure settings just define overall image brightness and DOF. What matters is the DIFFERENCE in tone/colour between different parts of the image, and the camera can't do anything about that. If you can control the light, then do it. If you can't, use a tone curve in post.

also in regards to LCD I noticed a drastic difference in my pictures exposure when I had the brightness on 50% compared to 100% would you say I should keep it on 100% is this more accurate?

Every camera is different. You will have to tune it to match your PC display as best you can, and preferably calibrate your PC display.

Note, how bright your LCD needs to be will depend on ambient brightness. 100% is probably a good idea on a sunny day, but far too bright in an indoor studio.

But histograms and highlight blinkies are your friends.

will ensure to greet them with open arms

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"A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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Mark Scott Abeln
Mark Scott Abeln Forum Pro • Posts: 15,685
Re: Questions

whosthatwhatsthat wrote:

Mark Scott Abeln wrote:

I'm not sure that tethering has anything to do with this.

By placing a neutral target in a photograph, you can adjust the white balance in your raw processor.

but then surely if not tethering you've done your whole shoot only to then have to adjust everything in your raw processor to correct it. so what does the neutral target do, or I set my white balance according to the neutral target in camera.

In the screen shot below, there is an eyedropper tool next to the White balance adjustment. Select the tool, and then click on an object in the photograph that is presumably neutral. That will adjust the white balance. Once you correct one shot, you can copy the adjustment to every other photo taken during the session (I do this in Bridge) and there is the "Previous Conversion" option in Adobe Camera Raw that will apply the settings from the previous image to the current image.

Yes, I can eyeball it because I have a calibrated monitor; I would not suggest adjusting color by sight with a non-calibrated monitor.

how do you calibrate a monitor do you calibrate to be in line with your camera or??

Monitors are calibrated according to a color standard. This requires a hardware monitor calibration device which costs a few hundred US dollars. Macs include a crude visual calibration utility that can get somewhat close.

But I also adjust color by the color values found in the image file, and by other means.

how do I find the colour values is that from the colour profiles in raw processor

Eventually you'll convert the colors of the raw file into a standard color space, such as sRGB, Adobe RGB, or ProPhoto. The values in the raw file are called 'device numbers' which are not in any particular color space, and which don't directly correspond to human color vision; raw processors convert these device numbers to values in a standard color space.

The color numbers in these color spaces correspond to precise visual colors (assuming a standard viewing condition and good color vision as found in young, healthy subjects). The actual numbers depend on the color space in use, but generally speaking, where the red, green, and blue numbers are equal, then the color is a neutral, such as pure white, black, or gray.

This old article may be helpful:

https://therefractedlight.blogspot.com/2010/08/color-spaces-part-1-rgb.html

Do you have the latest version of Photoshop? The color profiles are listed near the top of the menu in Adobe Camera Raw:

but what if I don't want the jpeg colour, I'm shooting raw so why would I want it to replicate the jpeg render. is the jpeg render the one shown on my lcd?

Yes, what you see on the back screen of your camera is a JPEG rendering of the raw file as processed by the camera itself according to your settings.

Many people do like the JPEG rendering of their camera but shoot raw in order to have more flexibility in processing. I used to use Nikon's raw processor for this reason.  Raw files contain more data than what's found in a JPEG and so you can do extreme edits on your files after the fact. For example, suppose you are in a hurry while shooting and don't have time to set a good white balance, or even get your exposure right. You can recover a lot more data from a raw file than from a JPEG.

Nowadays, I know more of what I want my images to look like than I did before, so I'm no longer relying on Nikon's software, but rather use Adobe and other raw processors.

Technology marches on, and so it is entirely possible that a modern raw processor can give better results than the JPEG engine found in your camera, even if you don't make any changes to the color rendering.

but when I got to save for web I then need to change to srgb so wont there be a difference in colour?

Camera raw data is not in any particular standard color space which can be interpreted by other computer software, printers, or monitors, and so the raw data needs to be processed into a standard color space that can be understood by these things.

right so whats the best way to achieve neutral camera settings? by importing and just selecting camera neutral on photoshop

That's the way I do it.

Or, you can use your camera manufacturer's own raw software, and you can use whatever camera color rendering settings that you want, although it will also automatically detect and apply whatever settings you used in your camera.

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