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Blown highlights (especially reds) when photographing flowers

mvheystmvheyst Member
edited September 2011 in general photography
I find it very difficult to photograph flowers, especially when they are in the sun.

The highlights on the flowers tend to blow out very easily, especially the reds.

When I decrease the exposure (to prevent the blown highlights), the picture and flowers looks dull.

The reds also blow easily when the flowers are in the shade.


  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    use Adobe RGB as your color space instead of sRGB and you will see how the gamut increases, and quite likely, not blow out the reds anymore.
  • Thanks Neil. This was an easy fix.

    Do you keep your camera's default on Adobe RGB, or on sRGB?

    When you shoot a wedding, do you use Adobe RGB or sRGB?
    When do you use sRGB?
  • Are you shooting Raw or Jpeg

    If you shoot Raw the colour space only effects the LCD preview on the back of the camera.

    I actually zeroed out all the Jpeg Setting on my camera and set the colour space to Adobe RGB , that way my LCD preview images is very close to what I see on my computer screen.

    The only time I would use sRGB is if Im shooting for direct print , or upload ( Photo Booth )

  • mvheystmvheyst Member
    edited September 2011
    Matrizphoto, I shoot RAW. My camera was set to sRGB.

    I noted red and yellow flowers gave me the most problems.
  • I'm curious what kind of camera? My D70 is really bad for reds, especially theater lights.
  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    Keep in mind that the earlier Nikon cameras were sensitive to infa-red as well. So try using an IR-filter and see if that controls the amount of reds in a photo.
  • Reason I ask. Changing the color space on a camera with a weak low pass filter may not really fix the problem. I didn't shoot raw on that camera back then, so I don't know if that would have helped any either.

    This is a good comparison of blown reds related to color space and how changing the color space can help: http://photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00V23x

    I noticed when switching to AdobeRGB that there was LESS blown reds, but many colors would become muted especially under the red lights regardless of saturation and contrast settings. Perhaps due to the expanded color space.
  • hello ,
    you can use perharps uniwb which is a good way to have a "true" histogram



    a good way to have an uniwb white balance , it to use a completly black picture ( lense cap+f22+1/5000) as a target for personnal white balance .

    Of course it is only for raw shooters because photos have a green hue , it is a perfect way to nail the exposure and to use the full dynamic range of your sensor with avoiding overexposure ( not for specular lights ) ...
    It is a good way to be sure that channels are not blown out

    the cons are the need to find the good whitebalance for pictures in your derawtiser
  • I always shoot in aRGB (not that it matters shooting raw) because it is just less work later. Andrew Rodney (The Digital Dog) who is a colour space guru suggested that even if you have sRGB printer you never now how much it will extend past the sRGB colour space. Every printer is different. For web I just make sure I Convert to Profile - sRGB. CS5 now offers Convert to sRGB when using the Save For Web & Devices feature.
  • Are devices or output programs doing this automatically? Meaning, I never do a manual conversion to the colorspace when saving for the web display and never noticed a problem.
  • I see a huge difference. You always see it in the reds. I tried a save for web with an aRGB image and it looked different from the one being saved as a Jpeg. Then I did a manual convert to profile (to sRGB) from the CS5 "Edit" drop down box. The original image looked different from when it was an aRGB. After converting the profile manually both images, before and after look much closer.
  • TrevTrev Moderator

    Also, many people do not understand that it's not only a monitor that needs to be calibrated for editing in image manipulators, but depends on your actual browser when viewing the web, or other forms of viewing images.

    Having a calibrated monitor does not equate to 'seeing' perfect images in different programs which may/may not be color managed.

    When in Photoshop, with a color calibrated monitor, you may experience less saturated or 'pop' in images because Photoshop is being true to the image, where if you were to attach the same image to your email client to email out and can see the embedded image it will look different, or when you are viewing images in your browser, or even in your Picture/Fax Viewer in XP or Windows Photo Viewer in Windows 7, etc.

    Here is a great little blurb on how browsers manage color, also, looking at the sample color spaces and when you do a roll-over with mouse on images, you will see how color space affects certain browsers, and fixes.


    Long read, but certainly worth it. Check out how WHACKED RGB 2.2 gamma to help viewers instantly see what happens when ICC Profiles are ignored and/or the wrong default profile is assigned/assumed/applied.

  • Thanks for the great info. I try to set all my stuff up correctly for that but I'm always grateful for more advice about this.
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