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Thread: newbie question about vibrant color in photography

  1. #1

    newbie question about vibrant color in photography

    Hi I'm new to photography and have been messing around with my camera for some time now. Most photographs I see on this site & others display vibrant colors in their photos. Like the color in this photo:dog picture
    compared to this photo: guy walking picture.

    I assume the "dog pic" has some post production work to enhance the vibrant colors but i'm not sure if this is common practice in photography. So my question, is it common in photography to do color enhancements in software such as photoshop? Or are vibrant color's dependent on the lens that is used and other camera settings. I would imagine the lens help reduce post production but in some cases, post production is needed to brighten the image quality and color. Just not sure if my assumptions are correct. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
    -Nu
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  2. #2

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    Re: newbie question about color in photography.

    Hi, Nu, welcome to CiC!

    I think most people do at least some "basic" post-production (and often more), but I'm not sure I'd consider it adjusting colors. For an image that looks just about perfect to me coming from the camera, I'll always apply capture sharpening, and I'll always create a curves layer and see if adjusting contrast makes a difference.

    If you look in the tutorials section, you'll see about sharpening and using "curves." I think what you're seeing as brilliant colors is probably contrast as much as anything. I took the "guy walking" image, and processed it only in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR). I set +30 fill light to bring up the shadows and +50 contrast, and came up with this:

    newbie question about vibrant color in photography

    I don't know if this is what you're looking for when you want more vibrant colors.

    Cheers,
    Rick

  3. #3
    David's Avatar
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    Re: newbie question about color in photography.

    Hi NuSpeed1 - Welcome to CiC forums. The question you pose has often been discussed on this site in one form or another. Indeed, the question has been discussed since (photographic) time began. There is a range of opinions on the extent to which a photograph can or should be post-processed; from the attitude that only the captured image is valid to anything goes. In fact, all the great photographers (indeed all photographers) have always post-processed their work, even in wet chemistry days. It is stated, apocryphally but nevertheless probably true, that Ansell Adams developed hundreds of prints from a single negative until he obtained the "ideal" chemical developing mix to give the image for which he wished. In the digital age, we are doing the same thing, a great deal less messily and with many more tools. Overall, photography has always been a two stage process: capture (quality of light, lens, composition, colour etc.) and post-processing control (development of negative, print, chemicals, curves, sharpening and output parameters).

    To what extent you apply aspects of capture and then post-process control is up to you as a photographer. Top quality lenses definitely can give better images in terms of clarity, colour and so on, but even the best lenses cannot do the photographer's work for him or her. Software can enhance images via sharpening, saturation etc., but again it's the photographer's skill and style that determines the output.

    Having said all that, I would echo Rick's views that you would at least be looking to enhance the sharpness of you images (lots of good tutorials and discussions on this site), to tweak saturation (vivacity) of colours, and to ensure a good dynamic range for your image (using contrast, curves, levels or whatever to spread the light values from dark to light (use the histogram to check)). Other important areas to "develop" in post-processing are noise control, colour balance, perspective (horizontal and vertical alignment), cropping, and blending. No doubt, others here will add their own views on what the important post-processing techniques are.

    You might feel put off by all that needs to be learned, but don't be. That's the fun of photography in the digital age. You can do all this in your own time at your desk and build up knowledge bit by bit. We all do that here even the photographers who produce the most startling and brilliant images are still learning.

    Cheers

    David
    Last edited by David; 17th June 2010 at 06:25 AM. Reason: grammar

  4. #4

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    Re: newbie question about color in photography.

    Hi Nuspeed1,

    Welcome to CiC from me too

    We had a bit of a discussion about this a while back -- you might find this thread interesting.

    How much manipulation is too much?

  5. #5

    Re: newbie question about color in photography.

    @Rick55 - what i meant by vibrant colors is that some times when i take images, the colors appear dull. they don't pop out of the image. so i'm wondering if this is all post production work. which now i understand is part of processing an image. thank you for responding and the my 1st welcome to CiC.

    @David - thank you for taking the time to write up photography's history. i really enjoyed reading it. it gave someone without formal training the process and valuable insight on photography. i'm definitely not put off by any process of capturing awe inspiring images. the fun for me is developing an eye for seeing every day things differently than the common masses.

    @Colin - awesome! I was trying to dig up a thread to read but gave up after several pages of links. i knew it was buried in this site some where. great site by the way!

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