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Alison Pascal's picture

CC on saturation... too bright?

I've been going over some old pics and trying to brighten them up in Lightroom (which admittedly, I'm still very new at learning and using). Is the green/red too bright in the first image? Should I bring the whole scene down a bit? Sometimes I think I should just stick to black and white, lol.

Any feedback is appreciated!

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45 Comments

Joe Svelnys's picture

This is actually fairly difficult thing to do.. Example.. My monitor shows an image one way, my laptop another.. I don't own a phone, but I'd imagine it too would be different. haha.

That sky is gorgeous.

The images look okay to me color wise.. In the first image though.. The house.. Something is going on with it. There seems to be a glow under the roof where a shadow should be?

I'd try some dodging and burning and see how that goes.

My favorite of the three is the second photo. Very nice.

Joe Svelnys's picture

The first image as well, I'd pull the reds down just a touch. the clouds are not quite white.

A side note no one really talks about.. Say.. My camera, a Nikon d5500, the Reds in the images it takes are over saturated by roughly 5 to 10%, so I have to compensate for that in Post. I could set it up in-camera but I'd rather just do it in post (I just made a Photoshop script to quickly fix it).

With this in mind, I heard nearly all sensors in every type of camera on the market has it quarks like this.. Might be blue or green, but all cameras do it, even if it is minor. Don't know why I thought of this, but just something to be mindful of I guess. :)

Alison Pascal's picture

I’ve noticed that since switching from a 30D to 60D that the reds tend to go a bit off the charts whereas I didn’t have that issue before. It’s a bit irritating to say the least.

Chris Jablonski's picture

You don't own a phone??? ;-)

Joe Svelnys's picture

2020, and I have never owned a cell phone. :)

Chris Jablonski's picture

I know you're behind the times, Joe. It may FEEL like 2020 to you, but we're not there yet! ;-)

Joe Svelnys's picture

Great, you're telling me my sundial is a month off? That's no good.. I probably bumped it too hard adjusting for daylight savings. haha

C.O. Shea's picture

Joe, that particular lighthouse is haunted. Maybe that's the glow? Haha. One of my favorite spots on the Oregon Coast. Heceta [he-sea-tah] Head.

Joe Svelnys's picture

Ahhh interesting! Im on the east coast up here in Connecticut, all kinds of haunted landmarks here as well. Not sure how I feel photographing them.. I'm going to have to think on that. I was on a hiking trail a few weeks back and crossed a log-cabin where the last owner committed suicide and it was not all run-down and abandoned and surrounded by a chainlink fence. I just couldn't bring myself to photograph it.

C.O. Shea's picture

I respect that sentiment. I'm not a thrill seeker in that regard either. Fascinated by the idea of ghosts... never been a trophy hunter, though. :)

Ray Zee's picture

I think the colors are saturated bit too much in the first and the 3rd images. It works on the second one though (IMO)

Alison Pascal's picture

I agree and I’m working on fixing it. For some reason once I take it out of Lightroom everything seems to go to hell and is to bright or too dark. I’m almost about ready to give up and just use photoshop because I don’t know how to calibrate (if it’s even possible) so the image doesn’t totally blow out. I swear it looks different on my screen when I edit in Lightroom and I can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong.

Pieter Swemmer's picture

Hi Alison, make sure when the files are exported as JPG that sRGB has been selected. Otherwise the colors you see on your screen and the colors we see on the site might be different at times

Chris Jablonski's picture

Colour saturation preferences seem to vary widely, Alison, most people seeming to prefer saturated images i.e. more intense colour than the real thing. Then there's the issue Joe raises, that online viewers will not all see the same thing. I too prefer the second image of the three. The pallor under the eaves could be real if light is reflecting up from pale paving.

To my eye, these images tend to over-saturation - yes, notably the greens in the first image. Just for comparison, here's how I'd have done it, more natural-looking to me - but you might well want to "brighten it up"! I've reduced overall saturation, warmed the colour balance, and pulled back the greens and the yellows (that foreground grass catches my eye too much), and changed the hue of the green to warm it further, as it looks unnaturally bluish to me.

The blue in the second image is a little intense at the top, for me. Also, your image is rotated anticlockwise one degree, and there are dust spots at top right. I've just straightened it and pulled back the blue. But that's my taste - you were there, and they're your images.

Joe Svelnys's picture

Now that I am on my laptop I'm reminded of the difference in equipment again. Colors are slightly more muted as compared to my desktop but also brighter. My laptop and desktop are not ISP displays.

Also, just as another added note.. When I use my polarize filter, the blue sky just pops like this. I was going thru my images again last night and bumped into a recent image with a yellow foliage tree and blue sky; so blue in-fact it looked very much fake. Something I'll have to be mindful of and adjust if I share that image.

On saturation, just to add more variables to the mix.. I heard recently a photographer from Europe mentioned how those in "the States" like to over saturate images; while over on their side of the pond, things are more muted. Not sure how true this is, but I found it interesting regardless.

Chris Jablonski's picture

I'm using my polariser less and less on skies, Joe. After a while, you can pretty well tell when they've been used, which begins to defeat the purpose, unless you want an "effect". And any lens wider than 35mm will have uneven polarisation across the sky, which I find impossible to edit out.

I completely agree about the last point, as a generalisation. Perhaps the Americas, not just the USA.

Joe Svelnys's picture

For better or worst, my 77mm polarizer is stuck on my 58mm to 77mm step up ring... So I can only use it on one lens right now.. haha.

I agree though... And that is what's causing that gradient in the sky? Interesting. I was shooting a lot of soccer games and needed something to bring back the blues a little. Worked good and wasn't over done. But yeah, if turned to the max amount it can get cartoony and fast.

Chris Jablonski's picture

I wondered about the second and third images being made with a polariser, as the blue seems intense right of centre at top in each.

They have their uses. They can give a velvety, if unnatural surface quality to leaves, and skin, for instance. Also, part-polarisation can be great (with ND) on streams and waterfalls - too much, and you get horrid inky shadows, blown-out highlights, and "velvety" water!

Joe Svelnys's picture

I had an interesting experience with a variable ND filter.. Figured for $5 Id give one a try (my other ND filters are normal).. At max "ND" and a shutter speed for 30 seconds, it shifted all the colors of the image.. To the point it looked like the image was shot in infrared. Interestingly it worked out and the image was a keeper. But now I keep that ND filter at arms reach. If I want IR, I'd just use my IR filter. heh.

Chris Jablonski's picture

The variable NDs are a pair of polarisers in which the outer one rotates. So you get some random-orientation polarisation whether you want it or not all the time. And many polarisers introduce a cast, but that can usually be dialled out in post.

C.O. Shea's picture

Joe, I went all the way to New Zealand last year... forgot I had the ND filter on one lens... and flipped out for a good half hour thinking my camera body had died. Doh!

Joe Svelnys's picture

Ohh no! doh! heh. Glad it was just a filter. heh.

C.O. Shea's picture

To top it off... for some insane reason, I traveled alone. Couldn't flip out and let everyone else see the crazy 'Murican. LOL

Alison Pascal's picture

I did use a polarizing filter on my lens now that you mention it! I found it in my kit bag (I purchased a whole bag of random gear that came with my camera when I bought it second hand from a photographer friend who decided to change brands and upgrade). I didn’t know what it was so I had a blast experimenting with it. It can definitely blow out an image, mess with highlights and such but I like how it has the potential to mess with the textures of shiny objects. I’m not necessarily interested in maintaining total “realness” if that’s a word, lol. I like to create a more surreal alien look and push the scene. Sometimes it works and sometimes I go too far but I think the experimentation is more important than anything.

I’m going to work on the beach scenes tonight after my classes but I am so grateful for all of the feedback here.

Alan Brown's picture

Hi Alison. My feeling is that images need to reflect your own interpretation. It's fine asking advice from others, but bear in mind you may end up following their vision an not your own.

For me the images are over-saturated for my taste - especially the the red/green in the first as you point out. That said, many others may love the vibrant colors.

My own preference is toward a more subtle approach, and one that is closer to the sight as seen. TBH I look at my own images taken a year or more ago and find most over-saturated (re-process to suit current personal tastes).

So in short, images are only over-saturated if YOU feel they are and whatever advice you receive should only be acted upon if it aligns with your own artistic direction.

I hope this helps

Ray Zee's picture

I don't disagree with you, but these questions are essential for novices. Even novice chefs some times need to hear "this needs more salt" and "this is too sweet". It takes a while to find one's own style.

Alan Brown's picture

I agree Ray, my point is that we have to be careful that the 'salt' we ultimately add suits our own taste buds and develop our own personal style..
Don't get me wrong, advice is great to help determine what works or not, but as with the chef the artist has too choose what works best for them.

I think we're pretty much on the same page.

C.O. Shea's picture

I've always adhered to the idea... it's easier to break the rules if I've learned the concepts behind the rules. And... this has been an educational discussion for me. Thank you, all. :)

Alison Pascal's picture

I tried to tone each pic down a bit and I'll probably still work on them more but I feel there's some good changes. Even if I don't entirely know what I'm doing, if my initial attempts in editing were over the top or my compositions look like a tourist took them, I'm still going to keep experimenting. I appreciate the constructive and positive feedback from many of you very much and trust me, I'm not one to roll over and go with the herd: I don't want my photos to look like everyone else's but I do want to learn how professionals go about making theirs look clean and polished. I'm staying true to my vision always, but in order to really get to that good place where I feel control and confidence, I have to make a TON of mistakes. I personally like surreal colorscapes but I do want to learn to train my eye while editing so that the color, contrast and saturation doesn't run completely amok. It's important to know how other people see what you're seeing because inevitably it will be a unique perspective, so I am very appreciative of the time that you've all spent with me to CC.

Joe Svelnys's picture

I completely agree with everything you mentioned; hopefully I was one of the positive influences. heh..

That said I like what you've done here. The important part as mentioned, as long as you like the changes as well. Personal style is everything. ..and as you touched upon, exploring other people's 'eyes' is important too.

One of the styles of shooting I like.. is to have foreground elements almost, but not quite, in front of my main subject. A style I'm finding is highly frowned upon by others... So I explore both... But I am addicted to bokeh and obstructing foreground elements.. and lately, bringing back more imperfections and playing with Color LUTs for photos.

"This is my expression of how I see the world" is all that matters in the end. :)

(Sorry I'm rambling a little)

Alison Pascal's picture

You've been extremely helpful and patient and I've learned much from your experience. I enjoy your honest problem solving approach. I value the process of critique because I want to be better and I want to encourage others to succeed as well even if my knowledge or skill set is limited. I want to see other people's work progress as much as I like seeing mine improve, too. (Unfortunately at times critique devolves into a pissing contest and the process falls apart, lol.)

On a side note, I have a bit of a bokeh addiction as well. Those glimmering dots are so pleasing and for the life of me I can't figure out what it is. They're like capturing little fairy lights in the shot, something magical.

The idea of obstructing elements and interrupting space sounds like a compelling compositional exploration. If it is something that appeals to you, run with it! Even if others don't see what you see, it doesn't make your vision an invalid statement. Who knows, maybe one of these days what you're pursuing might become the next hot ticket! Social trends and aesthetics are a fickle thing, after all.

Joe Svelnys's picture

It is disheartening when critiques break down.

People can have very strong egos and be completely blinded by their own style and tastes. Just because my taste may differ from someone else's, dose not make the photo I'm looking at a "1" star photo; it could actually be an incredible capture. Even the owners of this site mentioned in a recent critique video, giving someone "1" star should be extremely rare.

People loose sight that we are all here for our passion of photography and the wanting to share that passion with like minded people.

Chris Jablonski's picture

Agree, point for point, Joe.

Chris Jablonski's picture

I love these renditions, Alison! Well done. And I think you're too harsh about your composition, which IS a critical element in photography. I think the first two images are very well composed. I really like the second, especially now, although I like the uncropped composition too, as those clouds are gorgeous, and worth seeing.. There is a sense of vastness and wonder this image evokes for me.

BTW as the original poster you can add your edits under the main image (I'd put the edit just after the original). That way we can scroll between them directly. Sometimes it is interesting to see edits evolve over more than two versions. Not that you need them here!

You are a refreshing addition to the community, Alison. Glad you're participating.

Alison Pascal's picture

Thanks Chris! And you are right that I am tough on myself. I find it easy to praise others and it gives me joy to spread some positivity in critique but I feel intimated much of the time when talking about my own images. I’ve tried a few other forums strictly for beginners but no one wants to get into the “nuts and bolts“ so to speak and that’s what I feel is necessary to improve. (There have been a few moments when I’ve wondered if I was too much of a newbie to post in these groups!)

Thanks for the tips and the encouragement!

Joe Svelnys's picture

For what it's worth, I feel you fit right in with everyone else here. I'm new myself and feel a bit the same.

I try to be as nice as I can when giving a CC to someone that asks. I may be new to photography but I have been in the arts for a while.

Alison Pascal's picture

I’m an art studio major but my focus has been in printmaking and mixed media. I’ve used a lot of photography in my printmaking work but now want to focus on making my photos better which is what brought me here. I’m acclimated to the rules and expectations of CC and so I take what others say to heart and I know how negatively rude or arrogant critique can harm other people. Even if it’s not the best work to me personally , it might be the best effort at present for the maker and it’s my responsibility to help them grow. Art should be what brings us together, after all.

I noticed some posts suddenly disappeared the other day and I wondered what was up but I didn’t want to call too much attention to it and stir the pot, lol.

Joe Svelnys's picture

Ahh good call.. I modified my post above.. Mums the word... :)

Chris Jablonski's picture

Generally the tone on Fstoppers is very friendly, constructive and troll-free, beyond any other forum I've seen of any kind, Alison. The few serial nay-sayers are mostly ignored or drift away. And we're all learning. I struggle with my "post-" like a chronic headache... OK behind the camera, but then...sigh...

C.O. Shea's picture

Wow, Joe. Been reading a few weeks worth of your thoughts... no sign of you being new to photography. I appreciate the supportive objectivity you model. :)

Joe Svelnys's picture

Thank you, it's very much appreciated.

New to photography, but in a past life, a healthy background in production art (3d modeler/animator). :)

C.O. Shea's picture

That's pretty neat, Joe. :)

William Hunter's picture

Problem with Cape Kiwanda Oregon is that to get the beautiful sky you have to shoot midday. The colors of Cape Kiwanda just look like bright sand. Also the colors and textures of Haystack Rock are lost.

Alison Pascal's picture

I have gone a few times and you’re right, midday around 2 is the best time. At night it’s too dark unless you catch it just right, can really pace yourself and do long exposure. It’s also really windy and the sand whips up a lot so you have to be careful about getting fine grit in EVERYTHING.

William Hunter's picture

I am fortunate that my mother-in-law owns a beach house on the dune directly across from Haystack Rock providing a good place to wait on conditions. I have found that after the fall equinox is the best lighting for Cape Kiwanda and the golden hours really do apply at the cape. Also this time of year the storms produce tremendous waves with spin-drift and the Grey Whales are passing close enough to shore to get good shots. Along with the tourist are gone.