Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Difficulty Photographing the Color Red

There is this a summer scarf that I made a while ago and have yet to put in my Etsy store because the color has been so hard to photograph.

In most of the photos so far, this scarf comes out looking bright red or magenta. Actually it's a two-ply linen with one ply in raspberry and one in orange. They are the yummy colors of sherbet.

Around forty photos have been scrapped so far. These photos are the best I've gotten, but I don't think they are good enough. I've had to really bring down the saturation to come close to getting the hue developed correctly. In the process the brightness of the actual colors has been lost. I've played with the exposure, the fill light, and the white balance.

Red evidently is a difficult color to render on a digital camera. There's a similar issue with purple. Most of my deep purples come out looking blue, both in the camera's display and in the finished photograph.

Look how different the color looks below. I wasn't able to correct the pinkish cast on the scarf or on the white background.

Information on the Internet seems to indicate either white balance, saturation, exposure, or camera color calibration issues. Several people in forums say that you should give up taking JPEGs if you want to capture red accurately and start shooting in camera RAW format.

This is way more than I wanted know about photography, but I may be forced to learn. Either that or give up ever making anything in red or purple.

It's probably worth one more photography session. If that doesn't work, this scarf will be part of the one-year blogaversary giveaway. (Be sure to stay tuned!)

By the way, no orchids were harmed in the taking of these photos. As a matter of fact, this photo was taken in April and this orchid has re-bloomed already. I think it liked the whole modeling gig.


LillyShayStyle said...

Have you tried taking a photo outside? Maybe the natural light will help. It's a beautiful scarf!

Sharon said...

Yes, I have tried that and it hasn't helped with the red or the purple issue.

I'm using an old Nikon Coolpix 5000 and am about to borrow my partner's D80 since it shoots in camera RAW. I am terrified about borrowing such an expensive camera, though, and wish I could work out what to do with mine.

amazoncat said...

those roses are beautifully photographed. The DSLR should provide you with a better colour range, just make sure it isn't set to auto adjust anything. Maybe try playing with the white balance a little, in addition to shooting outside in natural light.

Hopefully you have access to RAW editing software, which will allow you to play with things like white balance and channels.