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View Full Version : Photo help - Proper colour - Canon SLR


Coasting
05-12-2012, 07:32 AM
Okay so I seem to suck at taking any kind of decent photo of my tank be it all in 1 or a close up of my coral.
I cant seem to get the colour right no matter what f-stop, speed, WB, or ISO I use and its driving me up the wall because I'm just not sure what to try. I see so many stunning photos posted on here, even cell phone photos seem to be better then what I can take!
Nevermind how you guys show the fluorescence in photo.

My shots seem very... greyed out.

I've given up on shots that are clear and not blurry since I have a bow front.
Camera is a canon 7d
http://i94.photobucket.com/albums/l88/Lolaandthecrowd/Fish%20Tank%20-%20SW/zcoralupdate021.jpg

http://i94.photobucket.com/albums/l88/Lolaandthecrowd/Fish%20Tank%20-%20SW/zNewFishNewCoral056.jpg

Maybe somebody can share what settings they use, gah!

I've used SLR's for years and never have an issue with them.... For the most part the FW tank is easy enough but SW photos are driving me insane!

Thanks!

Snaz
05-12-2012, 02:23 PM
Let the camera do what it was designed to do... Take pictures. Colour balancing is best done in post with Photoshop or ANY other picture software.

http://snaz.com/marine/021.jpg

http://snaz.com/marine/056.jpg

The settings you changed to balance the colour on the camera might have resulted in a poorer shot. Try just plain jane shots with correct aperture and speed and correct colour in post. Good shooting!

MarkoD
05-12-2012, 02:25 PM
Shoot RAW and then adjust it later

Coasting
05-12-2012, 03:44 PM
Well theres my problem, I HATE using photo editing programs. In my mind, if I cant take the photo properly to begin with so it doesn't need editing, then I didn't do it right.
I haven't used photoshop since highschool either.
Would need to find what closet I have Paintshop (it was free) buried in.... Then learn how to use it again.

Is there a better WB to select for the tank with the actinics? Maybe that will get me closer as the options I have gone through just don't seem right and the pictures get uglier and uglier.

Maybe I will have to try this photo editing thing....

Nano
05-12-2012, 03:46 PM
actinics is where I am having most of the trouble too. tagging along

Snaz
05-12-2012, 03:59 PM
The photo editing was literally three clicks with a mouse. It is an auto-fix feature that analyzes the colours in the photo and then does some corrective magic.

Most programs include this auto-fix or auto-correct feature.

Post editing is a must for reef shots. We bombard the subject with super violet rays to get the colours to pop and as a result our pictures are blue. Cameras are built to take pictures and not deal with atypical washed out blue coral under actinics.

Snaz
05-12-2012, 04:16 PM
Turning off your pumps and let the water settle will cause less movement which well then allow you to shoot at lower ISO speeds resulting in better detail.

Tripod and shutter remote are a must. If no remote shutter then use the countdown feature so your hands are not touching camera when the shutter fires.

fishytime
05-12-2012, 06:10 PM
Post editing is a must for reef shots. We bombard the subject with super violet rays to get the colours to pop and as a result our pictures are blue.

I would have to disagree with this statement...... all of my pictures that I post have no post editing at all and one of them just so happens to be POTM ATM..... I kinda feel the same as the OP..... the camera should be able to take an accurate representation of the coral with its settings and not need to be tweeked with a computer program

syncro
05-12-2012, 06:58 PM
I think it depends on how blue your lights are and how far your camera's white balance will go. After you take a picture, your camera tries to guess the color of the lighting and remove that color cast. Incandescent are yellow. Flouresent lights are green. With really blue tank lighting the camera just wasn't designed to consider a light source that blue. As a result it only takes out some of the blue cast. I've found that Lightroom (a photo editing program) can't fully color correct a photo taken under just blue actinics. While it can do better than the camera, it is still limited.

Some ideas to experiment with if you can:

try using whiter lighting over your tank (turn off actinics)
try just a few photos in RAW and correcting white balance in a software program, if it helps then you've narrowed down the problem and maybe we can help further
try manually setting the white balance on your camera (if available). The camera will ask you to take a picture of something white, like a blank sheet of paper, under the target lighting.
try shooting in JPEG with a "vivid" color setting to help boost color saturation and contrast

Snaz
05-12-2012, 08:51 PM
I would have to disagree with this statement...... all of my pictures that I post have no post editing at all and one of them just so happens to be POTM ATM..... I kinda feel the same as the OP..... the camera should be able to take an accurate representation of the coral with its settings and not need to be tweeked with a computer program

Could and should. Sure if your camera is capable of a property WB that is fine. Mine and the OP does not seen capable and so the need of some software help is required.

Coasting
05-12-2012, 10:28 PM
Could and should. Sure if your camera is capable of a property WB that is fine. Mine and the OP does not seen capable and so the need of some software help is required.
It damn well better! It cost enough!

Well with all the discussion, checked my instructions for the camera and yippie just went in altered my kelvin colour rating for my WB to 10,000k
Didnt touch my iso, just went and tested to see what would happen.
I see a nice difference.

before
http://i94.photobucket.com/albums/l88/Lolaandthecrowd/Fish%20Tank%20-%20SW/zcoralupdate023.jpg

After
http://i94.photobucket.com/albums/l88/Lolaandthecrowd/Fish%20Tank%20-%20SW/zchangedcamerasettings022.jpg

http://i94.photobucket.com/albums/l88/Lolaandthecrowd/Fish%20Tank%20-%20SW/zchangedcamerasettings050.jpg

http://i94.photobucket.com/albums/l88/Lolaandthecrowd/Fish%20Tank%20-%20SW/zchangedcamerasettings038.jpg

Still a little off but Now I think im heading in the right direction, and can fool around with the other settings.

Hoping to maybe get some more input from others though, the more I can learn the better. And I still want to avoid editing if at all possible! (other then re-sizing in paint)

Snaz
05-12-2012, 10:53 PM
Click Click


http://snaz.com/marine/022.jpg

MarkoD
05-12-2012, 10:59 PM
It doesnt matter what camera or how much it costs. It won't perform properly unless you use it properly.

If you do use software for post, boost the contrast, brightness and slightly increase saturation. It'll make everything pop

Coasting
05-13-2012, 12:23 AM
It doesnt matter what camera or how much it costs. It won't perform properly unless you use it properly.

If you do use software for post, boost the contrast, brightness and slightly increase saturation. It'll make everything pop

Exactly why I want to figure out how to use this thing properly :D
This camera is new to me, bought it for myself for christmas and Haven't had a chance yet to take it out and test all the features like I did with my old SLR.

Cant find the tripod... Will play around with some of the settings now on the same 2 coral and see what happens.
My only regret.... Buying a bowfront.

Coasting
05-13-2012, 02:35 AM
Iso 100, f 5.0, 1/60
http://i94.photobucket.com/albums/l88/Lolaandthecrowd/Fish%20Tank%20-%20SW/coralcoloursaturation001.jpg

iso 640, f 5.0, 1/60
http://i94.photobucket.com/albums/l88/Lolaandthecrowd/Fish%20Tank%20-%20SW/coralcoloursaturation002.jpg

iso 200, f2.8, 1/40
http://i94.photobucket.com/albums/l88/Lolaandthecrowd/Fish%20Tank%20-%20SW/coralcoloursaturation007.jpg

iso 400, f2.8, 1/30
http://i94.photobucket.com/albums/l88/Lolaandthecrowd/Fish%20Tank%20-%20SW/coralcoloursaturation009.jpg

iso 1000, f4.5, 1/60
http://i94.photobucket.com/albums/l88/Lolaandthecrowd/Fish%20Tank%20-%20SW/coralcoloursaturation013.jpg

iso 6400, f8.0, 1/60
http://i94.photobucket.com/albums/l88/Lolaandthecrowd/Fish%20Tank%20-%20SW/coralcoloursaturation020.jpg

Kept the same iso, fstop and speed for all these pictures but played with the following settings on the camer itself.
Sharpness, Contrast, Saturation, Colour tone.
Max all 4
http://i94.photobucket.com/albums/l88/Lolaandthecrowd/Fish%20Tank%20-%20SW/coralcoloursaturation021.jpg

Max all but contrast 0
http://i94.photobucket.com/albums/l88/Lolaandthecrowd/Fish%20Tank%20-%20SW/coralcoloursaturation022.jpg

Max all sharpness low.
http://i94.photobucket.com/albums/l88/Lolaandthecrowd/Fish%20Tank%20-%20SW/coralcoloursaturation023.jpg

Max all saturation 0
http://i94.photobucket.com/albums/l88/Lolaandthecrowd/Fish%20Tank%20-%20SW/coralcoloursaturation024.jpg

Max all tone 0
http://i94.photobucket.com/albums/l88/Lolaandthecrowd/Fish%20Tank%20-%20SW/coralcoloursaturation025.jpg

All 0, sharpness max
http://i94.photobucket.com/albums/l88/Lolaandthecrowd/Fish%20Tank%20-%20SW/coralcoloursaturation026.jpg

all 0, contrast max
http://i94.photobucket.com/albums/l88/Lolaandthecrowd/Fish%20Tank%20-%20SW/coralcoloursaturation027.jpg

All 0, saturation max
http://i94.photobucket.com/albums/l88/Lolaandthecrowd/Fish%20Tank%20-%20SW/coralcoloursaturation028.jpg

all 0, tone max
http://i94.photobucket.com/albums/l88/Lolaandthecrowd/Fish%20Tank%20-%20SW/coralcoloursaturation029.jpg

Any of them look any better?

Snaz
05-13-2012, 03:10 AM
What is your goal? True colour or brilliance ala frag sellers or somewhere in between?

True colour is obvious, what your coral looks like under white light. Super brilliant like you see on websites selling coral where the saturation is cranked up to "My Little Pony" levels or somewhere in between.

Your shots are getting better and your skill with that camera has increased ten fold just today.

What looks best is what you think looks best. When will we see you with a POTM?

Coasting
05-13-2012, 04:13 AM
Im kinda aiming for photos that look as if you were looking right at the coral, but at the same time, having a few overly flashy ones wouldn't hurt, but my goal for now is true colour.

I just dont know what one is best representing the coral as each photo thats close is still slightly different. I think it will take a lot of playing around.
I may up the 4 slightly but not all the way, takes away from the grey.
I get less grey/truer colour with a lower ISO, but their too dark, 1000-2000 seems okay... ah I dont know.

Now if only the fish would stay still long enough to get their picture taken.

None of the recent potm themes have applied to me haha.

jroovers
05-31-2012, 02:28 PM
Hi Coasting, I too shoot with a 7D. Great camera IMO, but I too am still figuring out how to use it. Once you get the photos going, then you can shoot some unreal video! My tips:

- shoot in camera raw
- shoot your pictures with custom WB at 10,000k (which you already figured out)
- to minimize blur, you need to have a high enough shutter speed to negate shake if taking shots hand held, or use a tripod. IMO shooting in manual mode and adjusting ISO, Aperature and Shutter speed independently is the way to go. Just remember the higher the ISO, the more noise you will get (the pic will look "grainy").
- it looks like you have a lens that is capable of great depth of field (i.e. a low f stop number), which means that the lens will allow a lot of light to hit the sensor when open, which IMO is good for aquarium shooting. You are all set there.
- play around and take a lot of shots. A realistic keeper to trash'er ratio IMO is somewhere between 1:10 and 1:20.
- you have to learn to use your post-processing software. No buts about it. With the 7D you would have gotten Digital Photo Professional, which is Canon's editing software. It is good, and easy to use, and you don't have to pay additional for it. When shooting in raw, you are essentially telling the camera to just store the raw info. When shooting in jpeg mode, the camera adds things like contrast, saturation, etc. automatically. I find the 7D raw settings to be really low on saturation - if you open a raw file in DPP, you will see the "sharpen" slider and "saturation" slider all the way to the left (0), and usually most RAW shots will require a bit of sharpening and colour adjustment. They look a bit dull, lack contrast, and have a hint of edge blur straight out of the camera.
- The beauty of shooting raw is correcting exposure and WB after you get the image on your computer. Use the WB "dropper" and move it over your image, and try and find a square that is roughly 18% grey. Click it. It will likely balance your image closer to what you are seeing realistically. If it didn't look right, undo, and try again with a different tone. Once you play around, you'll find it. The beauty is that when you do find it, you can then copy that setting to your other images, saving lots of time!

Here are a couple of recent shots I took with my 7D of my tank and a Sigma 30 mm 1.4 lens:

http://i980.photobucket.com/albums/ae286/jroovs/AquariumMay2012-5.jpg

http://i980.photobucket.com/albums/ae286/jroovs/AquariumMay2012-13.jpg

Nano
05-31-2012, 03:27 PM
I used a tripod, and as the above poster said, shoot manual, I cant find my raw setting so I shot everything in "normal" mode versus vivid/more vivid, took it and adjusted the saturation and contrast on photoshop, maybe a bit too much saturation, but it looks much better then my other shots from before! that being said it is much more true to the light and color after I made the adjustments, maybe a bit more blue, but truer none the less.
here is before
http://i1108.photobucket.com/albums/h401/thehobdenmarina/DSCN3459.jpg
and after
http://i1108.photobucket.com/albums/h401/thehobdenmarina/DSCN3495.jpg

jroovers
05-31-2012, 03:49 PM
I used a tripod, and as the above poster said, shoot manual, I cant find my raw setting so I shot everything in "normal" mode versus vivid/more vivid, took it and adjusted the saturation and contrast on photoshop, maybe a bit too much saturation, but it looks much better then my other shots from before! that being said it is much more true to the light and color after I made the adjustments, maybe a bit more blue, but truer none the less.


If you are shooting in a non-raw mode (i.e. producing a jpeg straight out of the camera), the camera will "automatically" add a certain level of contrast, saturation, etc. So if you are adjusting the saturation in PS afterwards, you run the risk of over saturating. The second pic compared to your first is much better without a doubt, but as you said maybe a touch too high in saturation IMO.

Anytime you touch the saturation slider, you are going to get accused of PS'ing your picture. If you can shoot raw and stick to adjusting the proper WB'ing and adjusting the exposure in PP, and nothing else, you'll get pretty true to life results and can claim that you are not touching saturation, which might change the opinion of many who look at your pics. Part of the problem though is that people really don't know what "Photoshopping" a picture means - anytime you shoot in raw, you at the very least need a raw photo converter to produce a viewable pic (i.e. jpeg) so a certain level of PP is necessary. It is when you start jacking the saturation and vibrance to unrealistic levels that you run the risk of overdoing it. However, without someone viewing the pics and then seeing your tank to compare, the "realistic-ness" of the shots is based on the photographer's perceived credibility by those viewing the pics.

Nano
05-31-2012, 03:59 PM
If you are shooting in a non-raw mode (i.e. producing a jpeg straight out of the camera), the camera will "automatically" add a certain level of contrast, saturation, etc. So if you are adjusting the saturation in PS afterwards, you run the risk of over saturating. The second pic compared to your first is much better without a doubt, but as you said maybe a touch too high in saturation IMO.

Anytime you touch the saturation slider, you are going to get accused of PS'ing your picture. If you can shoot raw and stick to adjusting the proper WB'ing and adjusting the exposure in PP, and nothing else, you'll get pretty true to life results and can claim that you are not touching saturation, which might change the opinion of many who look at your pics. Part of the problem though is that people really don't know what "Photoshopping" a picture means - anytime you shoot in raw, you at the very least need a raw photo converter to produce a viewable pic (i.e. jpeg) so a certain level of PP is necessary. It is when you start jacking the saturation and vibrance to unrealistic levels that you run the risk of overdoing it. However, without someone viewing the pics and then seeing your tank to compare, the "realistic-ness" of the shots is based on the photographer's perceived credibility by those viewing the pics.
Thanks I'll keep that in mind, like said, the saturation is a bit high, but it is truer color, just more blue/pink then what is seen in the tank