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Thread: Advice on overcoming red welcomed

  1. #1
    Carole M's Avatar
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    Advice on overcoming red welcomed

    Since I've only kept to auto-settings in the past, I am hoping to learn where to benefit from photos such as this one. Photos with a lot of 'red' seem to be out of limits for my camera. While this photo is meant for the recycle-bin, it is a good example to share here.

    What setting should I be exploring further, to perhaps have achieved a more true colour? I can play with post-editing, but need to know what I could be doing to get it better, from the beginning.

    Thanks in advance for some pointers......

    Advice on overcoming red welcomed

  2. #2
    Goldcoastgolfer's Avatar
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    Re: Advice on overcoming red welcomed

    Are you shooting jpeg or raw? It looks like your camera is over saturating the photo if you're shooting in jpeg.

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    Re: Advice on overcoming red welcomed

    Every camera manufacturer tunes their jpg file outputs to what they think their customers want to see. Usually lots of saturation on the prime colours and more often than not a little too much green for scenery and red for skin tones. If your profile is up to date your SONY Cyber-Shot DSC-H1 has three levels of saturation programmable by you. Turn the options down and see if you get something closer to what you expect.

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    Re: Advice on overcoming red welcomed

    Image>adjustments>hue / saturation>click on master at top and go to red>reduce saturation and lightness> click ok

  5. #5
    Glenn NK's Avatar
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    Re: Advice on overcoming red welcomed

    Carole:

    Some basic questions:

    1) what camera are you using?

    2) does it have an RGB histogram?

    3) are you shooting RAW or JPEG?

    4) are you doing any post-processing or is this an image (JPEG) straight out of the camera?

    Without knowing these basics, we're shooting in the dark (making guesses as whether it's in the camera's settings or your processing).

    Red is a very easy colour to blow out - even when shooting RAW.

    Glenn

  6. #6
    Carole M's Avatar
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    Re: My answers to your responses

    Thanks all! This image was an archival one but generally, with a ‘red rose’ photograph I can never really achieve anything great. It prompted my asking here … and for some reason, bringing out this waratah photo from the Kariong Floral Festival. It was an indoors, indirect light quick-snap.

    Malcolm: Shooting in jpeg

    Andrew: Tks for the tip; will check it out.

    Steve: Your tip is a post-processing via editing programme; that I'm more familiar with the process of. It's my camera I need to be come more familiar with, and I appreciate your feedback too.

    Glenn:
    1) Sony DSC-H1
    2) Yes, but not something I’ve tried to understand in the past
    3) Jpeg
    4) Straight from camera.
    Last edited by Carole M; 6th January 2012 at 06:10 AM. Reason: re-vised wording on one answer.

  7. #7
    Goldcoastgolfer's Avatar
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    Re: My answers to your responses

    Quote Originally Posted by Carole M View Post
    Thanks all! This image was an archival one but generally, with a ‘red rose’ photograph I can never really achieve anything great. It prompted my asking here … and for some reason, bringing out this waratah photo from the Kariong Floral Festival. It was an indoors, indirect light quick-snap.

    Malcolm: Shooting in jpeg

    Andrew: Tks for the tip; will check it out.

    Steve: Your tip is a post-processing via editing programme; that I'm more familiar with the process of. It's my camera I need to be come more familiar with, and I appreciate your feedback too.

    Glenn:
    1) Sony DSC-H1
    2) Yes, but not something I’ve tried to understand in the past
    3) Jpeg
    4) Straight from camera.
    Andrews tip is probably the most valid one. However you may also want to consider shooting in RAW as that should strip out any of the processing your camera does to over saturate the reds.

  8. #8
    Glenn NK's Avatar
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    Re: My answers to your responses

    Quote Originally Posted by Carole M View Post
    Thanks all! This image was an archival one but generally, with a ‘red rose’ photograph I can never really achieve anything great. It prompted my asking here … and for some reason, bringing out this waratah photo from the Kariong Floral Festival. It was an indoors, indirect light quick-snap.

    Malcolm: Shooting in jpeg

    Andrew: Tks for the tip; will check it out.

    Steve: Your tip is a post-processing via editing programme; that I'm more familiar with the process of. It's my camera I need to be come more familiar with, and I appreciate your feedback too.

    Glenn:
    1) Sony DSC-H1
    2) Yes, but not something I’ve tried to understand in the past
    3) Jpeg
    4) Straight from camera.
    Carole:

    I shoot quite a few flowers (see my link). Red flowers are the most difficult as they seem to over-saturate more easily than any other colour. (thinking about Andrew's comments here). If you look at the red flowers, you'll notice that the petals don't show as much detail as the petals of other coloured flowers.

    I have found that with red flowers, it's very easy to over-saturate, and when the saturation is too high, detail is lost, and what results is a big red blur - isn't that what you have? A big red blur. I've had my share (I delete the worst ones in the field before they get to the computer).

    When you shoot JPEG, the camera makes some decisions on processing based on "average" scenes, but a bright red flower is not average. The resulting JPEG straight from the camera may not handle red well.

    With a RAW file, there is more latitude available for adjustment than there is with a JPEG file (with a JPEG, the camera has already done some processing - which is not reversible).

    Glenn

  9. #9
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: My answers to your responses

    It is overexposed in the red channel; on my camera I use 4 histograms and red is easiest to overexpose. I use manual settings but I suppose you could guess by setting exposure compensation to say -1. I'm not too clear about that because I don't use it.

    You could also try a red filter, my memory on this stuff is vague but if it reflects red then less will get to the sensor.

    Another thing was diffraction; red diffracts earlier than blue or green, so open up the aperture a little more.

    Sorry I can't be more help.

  10. #10
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Advice on overcoming red welcomed

    Are you shooting in macro-mode or closeup? Try putting the camera in standard auto mode, step back and fire again. Also, if your camera has FOOD mode, try this setting and adjust the hue or color sliders until you see a tone that agrees with you. White balance can wait for another day.

  11. #11
    Carole M's Avatar
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    Re: My answers to your responses

    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn NK View Post
    Carole:

    With a RAW file, there is more latitude available for adjustment than there is with a JPEG file (with a JPEG, the camera has already done some processing - which is not reversible).

    Glenn
    A new learning curve there too; go investigate RAW how-to's; thanks for the advice.

  12. #12
    Carole M's Avatar
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    Re: Advice on overcoming red welcomed

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowman View Post
    Are you shooting in macro-mode or closeup? Try putting the camera in standard auto mode, step back and fire again. Also, if your camera has FOOD mode, try this setting and adjust the hue or color sliders until you see a tone that agrees with you.
    Thanks John; it was just standard-auto closeup; probably too close. Never heard of FOOD mode; don't believe my Sony DSC-H1 has it (it's six years old now).

  13. #13

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    Re: Advice on overcoming red welcomed

    Carole, when shooting flowers, the first thing i do is set a manual WB.

    When shooting bright red, the red channel is usually to the right of the green and blue. (always pay attention to what your histograms are telling you)

    If you expose for the red channel, the green and blue channels will be underexposed a little.

    If you shoot in RAW, you can push the red channel a little more (clip it a little) and bring it back in post by lowering the saturation and luminosity of the red channel. You can also tweek the red channel of the curves tool as well.

  14. #14
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    Re: Advice on overcoming red welcomed

    Carole,

    It seems like the JPEG straight out of the camera is rather over saturated. Both the reds and the greens seem to suffer from that problem. Lots of in-camera JPEG processing does that,

    I would recommend shooting in RAW and using a program like Photoshop Elements to improve the color. I noticed a quantum improvements by simply desaturating the color a bit.

    You can also desaturate a JPEG image in PSE editing mode....

    You can also sesaturate the individual colors in the image...
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 6th January 2012 at 04:46 PM.

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    Re: Advice on overcoming red welcomed

    Here is an interesting question having to do with "redness" problem: is it worsened by the fact that only 1/4 of all the pixels on the sensor are red?

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    Re: Advice on overcoming red welcomed

    The problem with the red channel is not to do with pixel allocation on the sensor. It is to do with the colour space we usually use to view the image, sRGB. This colour space has less room for saturated reds than it needs. This causes the reds to be crammed up at the saturated end when shooting a difficult subject with a lot of red.

    Usually the camera converts the raw data to sRGB for the jpeg. If it did this using a smooth reduction of all the colours then the reds would look ok but the greens and blues would be dull. So a skewed reduction is done, sacrificing saturated reds, to get a better result on an average photo. This is good unless you like photographing flowers. Then it fails.

    This is why shooting raw will help. The camera colour space is bigger. So if you have the raw data it is possible to bring the saturation and brightness of the reds down so they fit nicely inside sRGB, effectively doing a custom mapping to sRGB for the difficult reds.

    Note that using Adobe RGB in your camera if you have that option would not help. This is because Adobe RGB has the same limits for reds. It has a wider range of blues and greens.

    I just had a quick search for your camera specs and could not find out if it shoots raw. The sites I found did not mention it so I am guessing no. In this case your best option would be to underexpose the image and boost the greens and blues in post production. However you will get extra noise doing this and smoothing it will then lose image sharpness. It may be a losing battle but is worth trying.

    Alex
    Last edited by herbert; 7th January 2012 at 12:18 AM.

  17. #17

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    Re: Advice on overcoming red welcomed

    I'd really recommend shooting in RAW, primarily because you set the white balance and saturation yourself after the fact (which is lossless, as opposed to JPEG). I'd assume your camera's JPEG processing is just out of whack, it's really a marketing thing.

  18. #18
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Advice on overcoming red welcomed

    Hi Carole,

    Welcome to the CiC forums from me.

    Without getting bogged down in detail and technicalities; to my mind, almost the only person that has used the words you need to take heed of is Steve (arith); the biggest problem is that the shot is over exposed, that's it, plain and simple, less exposure will make a big difference.

    So how do you know what to use?

    You really do need to invest the time in learning to interpret the histogram, it isn't too difficult. No time like the present

    The histogram is just a 'graph' of the brightness values of the total pixels in the image.
    They come in different types; usually a monochrome one, which represents all the colours added together, this isn't too helpful for flowers though. Better are the individual ones for Red, Green and Blue, which come together and sometimes you get luminance thrown in too giving 4 (as Steve mentioned)

    Most subjects will make a 'mountain range' shape in the graph, the more it is to the right, the more exposed the picture will be. If the mountain range hits the right hand 'wall', then the image is probably 'clipping'; losing detail because it is over exposed.

    Here's a red/orange flower shot of mine, you can see how much more red there is compared to the other colours and how basing an exposure on the luminance histogram alone would still blow (over expose) the red channel massively.

    Advice on overcoming red welcomed

    I also recommend you shoot RAW, but even if you stick to jpg (in fact especially if you do), please use the RGB histogram to refine exposure after a flower shot.

    How do you do that?
    Well, it depends whether you're shooting manual (M), or one of the semi-auto modes; P, A or S, or even in full Auto, in all cases apart from M, find how to set some negative Exposure Compensation "-EC", use that; upto -2 stops if necessary.

    Hope that helps,
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 7th January 2012 at 01:19 AM.

  19. #19
    Carole M's Avatar
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    Re: Advice on overcoming red welcomed

    Quote Originally Posted by herbert View Post
    I just had a quick search for your camera specs and could not find out if it shoots raw. The sites I found did not mention it so I am guessing no.
    Alex
    thanks for your lengthy feedback. I can de-saturate with post-processing, and yet to work with the settings on my camera. (have just started a 6 week e-course to help me focus on the main elements). I appreciate your notes.

  20. #20

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    Re: My answers to your responses

    Quote Originally Posted by Carole M View Post
    indirect light quick-snap.
    Nope, the image clearly shows that it is a quick-snap, yes, but with flash, direct light.
    Dave Humphries gives a valid answer in #18.

    This is a common problem with flowers, and it is not too much related to the in-camera conversion from RAW to jpeg. When you have a saturated colour, it often hits the roof in one channel; more often the red channel than any of the other two. Also strong blue colours or violet are problematic in this respect. The camera is not able to expose those colours correctly, so the over-saturation will also be present if you shoot RAW. In fact it is an over-exposure of that colour. You will have to decrease exposure if you wish tonality to remain in the image.

    When you shoot jpeg, mostly a -2 compensation is necessary, but with RAW you can often compensate less and still save the red tones. The little rose in the image below had to be shot with -2 compensation to save the tonality over the petals, which of course pushed the green more back into the shadows, but that's what you will need to do to save the saturated red tones. It is not the camera's saturation that is the problem, but the saturation of the colour of the flower. It could be expressed as "the red of the flower is brighter than it appears to the eye, about twice as bright"; and that is what the camera sees.

    Advice on overcoming red welcomed

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