BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Dawn Penich
 

How to get the most color from digital.


How do I get the most color in my photo's? It seems like all the colors in my photo's are dull.


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3/20/2006 1:56:06 PM

 
Justin G.
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/13/2004
  shoot in raw, adjust wb accordingly for the effect you want, do a saturation adjustment layer of about +5-+20. then lower your opacity as needed.


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3/20/2006 4:08:36 PM

 
Dawn Penich   Thankyou very much, I will try that right away.


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3/20/2006 4:14:09 PM

 
Nancy Grace Chen
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/18/2004
  To get truly optimal color, you will probably have to edit your photos in Photoshop or a different kind of software. Some people think that using any PS at all is cheating, but the truth is that what film developers do in the dark room, we have to do in software. You have to edit it to even get it to look like what you saw with your own eyes, because the camera doesn't always record the same thing.

I use Curves adjustment on almost all of my images. In Photoshop, you go to Images > Adjust > Curves. Then fashion the curve into a slight 'S' shape. This will bolden the colors and improve the contrast of your image.

Hope that helps,
Nancy


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3/20/2006 9:38:36 PM

 
Dawn Penich   Thanks!! I have used curves quite a bit as well. I am glad you mentioned that photoshop is not always cheating because I hear that a lot, however, I always wondered what the difference was with what we do in the darkroom. Thanks again.


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3/21/2006 6:24:12 AM

 
Justin G.
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/13/2004
  Well Nancy I gotta go slightly against what you said. Yes curves is great but Dawn if you go to Images > Adjust > Curves, you're going to alter pixels, and if you've already done a bunch of steps you can't go back and change it if you want. I suggest creating an adjustment layer of Curves, that way it always stays on top, it doesn't alter your current pixels and you can change it later with a small double-click. Just a thought.


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3/21/2006 7:12:21 AM

 
Nancy Grace Chen
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/18/2004
  Thanks for your input, Justin. I still recommend Curves... yes, it's going to alter your pixels, but what enhancement doesn't? It's a lot less damaging than using the 'Saturation,' 'Contrast,' or 'Brightness' tools. What I do is save the image every few steps when I am working on it. And NEVER save on top of your original image! Everyone has a different workflow and you have to figure out what works for you.

Nancy


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3/21/2006 7:17:18 AM

 
Nancy Grace Chen
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/18/2004
  Oh, I meant to save the image as a new file every few steps. Like save it as 1 after 3 steps, save it again as 2 after 3 more steps, etc. So you can always go back to 1 if you don't like what you did after that.

NC


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3/21/2006 7:18:58 AM

 
Justin G.
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/13/2004
  No no I wasn't going against curves, I was just goign against using it directly on your image. if you do it that's going to directly alter your pictures. if you use an adjustment layer, you don't alter your pixels but it's the 'exact' same thing as curves. PS just uses calculations on how the image is displayed compared to actually changing your pixels. if anyone wants a .PSD example file, just lemme know and I'll email you the copy


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3/21/2006 7:44:26 AM

 
Dawn Penich   Please do. I would love to see one. Email me at dawnpenich@truvuestudio.com

Thankyou!!


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3/21/2006 8:01:59 AM

 
Daniel Diaz
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/20/2005
  My understanding is that editing done on a RAW file does little to no damage at all to the image. It is only harmful to a JPEG. Is this not correct?


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3/21/2006 12:08:22 PM

 
Justin G.
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/13/2004
  no all it's doing is just altering the pixels of the image while you're working on it. I mean really it's a simple concept. if you apply curves and happen to blow out highlights, then they're gone. granted you can close out without saving and open up the image again but you're starting over. to avoid starting over, use an adjustment layer so later if you want to change the value of the curves you can easily wihtout having to completely starting over. that's all, simple as that.


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3/21/2006 12:14:13 PM

 
Daniel Diaz
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/20/2005
  Ahhh, that's what I thought you were saying, I got confused into thinking that the changes were diminishing the quality.


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3/21/2006 12:21:14 PM

 
Justin G.
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/13/2004
  How perfect! I found this article without even looking for it!


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3/21/2006 2:46:46 PM

 
A C
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/6/2004
  I agree with Justin! I do all my editing with curves in an adjustment layer. I also do most of my other editing in layers and adjustment layers so I can work in just one file and make as many changes as necessary.


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3/21/2006 5:05:20 PM

 
Robyn Gwilt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/15/2005
  Justin, pls could you email me as well - robyn@cinet.co.za. Another question (sorry Dawn!) How does one get a flow or 'recipe' going? If I'm working on a whole bunch of images, all of the same sort of lighting/colour etc., and they all need a similar adjustment or tweaking, is there not some way of saving this, and then applying to images? Please don't tell me to read the manual.... I'm a woman, I don't read manuals!!!


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3/22/2006 10:42:45 AM

 
Bob Chance
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/19/2006
  Dawn:

While everyone else is talking curves, pixels and software manipulation, I couldn't help but notice that no one asked what kind of printer/paper you are using to print your pictures.
If you are using a regular color inkjet, made primarily for business and people who print mostly letters, greeting cards, etc... you will not get a photo quality image.
Pretty much all manufacturers advertise that their color inkjets, bubble jets and what-have-you will print color pictures. That much is true. However, only the ones made to produce photo quality pictures will give the results you strive for.
Mostly the difference is in the ink itself. Standard printers use a conventional ink technology. Although the ink has great features such as longevity, smudge and water resistance, it doesn't offer the color and contrast needed for a true photograph.
Photo printers use a photo dye instead of an ink. The colors are much more saturated and if you print on glossy paper, the results are glossier prints than those done on an ink based printer.
The downside is that the photo dyes do not offer the longevity of there ink jet counterparts.
Epson now offers a line of photo printers using a new ultrachrome ink which is a compromise between the two, in that it gives rich color and almost the gloss of the photo dye printers and depending on the paper media and how it is stored/displayed, they claim color fastness from 100-300 yrs.
So before you drive yourself nuts tying to get the prints you want from your printer through various software editing, check to make sure your printer and paper combination is supposed to give you the results you want.
Paper plays a big part also. i.e. there is a world of difference between Epsons' Glossy and Premium Glossy papers.


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3/22/2006 4:34:20 PM

 
Nancy Grace Chen
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/18/2004
  Robyn-- do you use Photoshop? If so, you can create an "action" and apply it to a bunch of images in a row. Here's a website I found that explains how to do this. Then you can apply that action (or set of commands) to any image you open.

To do a bunch of images at one time, go to File > Automate > Batch. Make sure your action is the one shown, and then for source, choose the folder which contains the images you want that action applied to. Then click OK.

It will probably take some experimentation. Just make sure none of the steps in your action are "Save," because it'll save over your original image, and then the original will be gone. (which will be unfortunate in case you didn't like what the action did.)

Hope that helps,
Nancy


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3/22/2006 4:45:29 PM

 
Robyn Gwilt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/15/2005
  Thanks a mil Nancy, yes I use PS, thats prob just what I;
m looking for. Will check it out!


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3/22/2006 9:07:18 PM

 
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