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Vivid colors - how?

Steve George , Jun 13, 2003; 09:08 a.m.

Hi there

I've read a lot of posts on here over the past few months but am looking for a particular question / answer I can't find anywhere...

Why is it that some photo's seem totally saturated with color - in particular I've been looking at the Daryl Benson website and the pictures are amazing - the blues are so blue, the whites have hundreds of shades, the greens are vibrant and the contrasts are amazing.

Is this film based saturation? Filter aided? Have taken a few nature pics I'm happy with but nothing like that level of color detail.

Am going on a big trip in August and any tips would be very gratefully received!



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Michael Hohner , Jun 13, 2003; 09:25 a.m.

  • Wait for good light
  • Use slide film, maybe one of the saturated ones (Fuji Velvia)
  • Expose correctly
  • Process film in good lab
  • Use good lenses (good contrast, little flare)
  • Use lens hood (reduces flare even more)
  • Try using polarizer

Steve George , Jun 13, 2003; 09:30 a.m.

Hi Michael

Thanks for the swift response - I have been using Velvia and a polariser - and pretty much all of the other things you mention too...bracketing to ensure a good exposure range taking, paying attention to the light, and so on,

I've read a lot about yellow / blue polarisers too and plan to invest in one of these too. I just thought maybe there was something I was missing..!

Darron Spohn , Jun 13, 2003; 09:32 a.m.

Steve, what time do you get out of bed to go take photos?

Guy Tal , Jun 13, 2003; 09:33 a.m.

A lot also depends on post-processing. Someone who knows their way around color correction, contrast masking, dodging and burning etc. can usually produce images with a lot more impact than someone who just scans their chromes and throws them on a web site with no additional work.

Scenic Wild

John Bald , Jun 13, 2003; 09:34 a.m.

Click here for the site Steve is referring to - Daryl Benson's web site. Gorgeous images there.

I see why Steve was struck by the colors. They're terrific, without being ridiculously saturated. To my eye, it looks like the photographer used a good slide film (maybe Provia) or an exceptional DSLR (maybe the Canon 1Ds), and there was some skilful color enhancement done in Photoshop (maybe with the Nik color filter plug-ins?).

I'm right with you, Steve. I'd like to learn how to get such strong, pleasing colors in my images. Actually, my curiosity about Daryl's images got to me, so I sent him an email message to ask How did you get such vivid colors? Of course, it's a beautiful June day so he's probably out shooting somewhere, not sitting in an office cubicle as I am :(

Steve George , Jun 13, 2003; 09:35 a.m.

My best have always been sunrise - insomniac so that's not too hard! Winter sunrises have been particularly fruitful, though a few shortly before sunset have come out ok too.

Don't know why, but I just can't get that level of color saturation that I see in pics like the Daryl Benson ones.

Thanks to all of you for replying so quickly - I thought I'd be lucky to get even one or two let alone so fast.

John Bald , Jun 13, 2003; 09:44 a.m.

Michael had a good list - I've found those to be important factors in making good images, but I haven't been able to achieve the color saturation I see in Daryl Benson's images on his site. To get those colors, he's got to be either using filters on his lens or using an image editor to enhance the colors.

Philippe Gauthier , Jun 13, 2003; 09:48 a.m.

All the advice above is good, especially about using the most saturated slide films: Velvia, Provia, E100 VS...

But you must also find a colorful scene. Spring is good because it's usually rainy - everything is young, lush and vivid in color. Summer is comparatively dry - lots of not so attractive yellows - but a week worth of rain can do wonders. Learn to shoot after storms. Colors are good and the light is often very nice, too.

Ilkka Nissila , Jun 13, 2003; 10:40 a.m.

You could try rainy days ... the colours really pop and there's a great contrast. Use a warm & saturated film, e.g. E100GX. You could also try E100VS ... but you still need to get great light to get great pictures ...

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