Colour reproduction - tearing hair out

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by John Purcell, Apr 13, 2004.

  1. John Purcell

    John Purcell Guest


    I'm fast approaching nervous breakdown and if anyone could advise me
    on the following, I'd be incredibly grateful ....

    I've been selling art on eBay for a while but I'm having big problems
    photographing my stuff. A lot of my paintings fade from orange at one
    end to red at the other, and my camera (a Sony DSC-P72) just refuses
    to reproduce the colours, even though it's not so bad on blue ones.

    I tried using flash or cheap tungsten lights indoors with a blue
    filter on my camera (taped to it!) and didn't get anywhere. The
    nearest I've got to a decent result is by photographing my paintings
    outside in full sun (which is a serious hassle - how many days do you
    even get full sun in the UK?!) -- and even then, the photo looks ten
    times better on the camera LCD screen that it does on any computer.
    Very weird. The jpegs tend to look greyish once transferred to a
    computer, and too red as well - and yet are mysteriously OK on the

    I've tried everything I can think of with my current camera -
    adjusting the jpegs digitally, all sorts of weather conditions, using
    a polaroid filter, etc, setting the white balance and exposure ...

    Could anyone tell me what I have to buy or do to get decent, vivid
    colour reproduction, preferably indoors? I would splash out serious
    cash on a camera or lighting equipment if only I could be sure it
    would do the job.

    Really fine detail is not important too me - I just need decent

    Many thanks in anticipation,

    John Purcell, Apr 13, 2004
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  2. John Purcell

    Andrew Guest

    I am no expert in these matters, but are you sure your monitor is set
    up right? The pictures may be fine but your monitor may not be doing
    them justice.
    Andrew, Apr 13, 2004
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  3. John Purcell

    Alan Browne Guest

    Try on a day with light overcast rather than full sun with the painting
    facing north.
    Alan Browne, Apr 13, 2004
  4. John Purcell

    chibitul Guest

    is your monitor calibrated? are you using a Macintosh? then use
    ColorSync to calibrate your monitor.

    another alternative: there is a device (called Spyder I believe?) which
    measure teh color of your monitor. I haven't used it, but read bout it
    on (again, I believe, not very sure I remember the right
    site). They just released a consumer version, priced at 4100 or so. It
    should come with software, probably for both mac and PC. Not sure if it
    works with LCDs though. Please check before you buy :)

    Again, I believe the pictures are OK, the monitor is not calibrated. why
    don't you post some pictures online so we can look at? even if we don't
    know how they are supposed to look like, it is easy to tell if they are
    too blue or too orange. If they look OK to us, but too blue to you (or
    too orange, either way), your montor(s) are screwd up :)
    yes, setting the white ballance is the most important. there is no need
    for colour filters on digital cameras, especially if you have manual
    white ballance.
    again, check your monitor(s), read about color management, search for
    ColorSync, I am sure there is something similar for Windows. If you need
    perfect colour reproduction, try the Spider.
    Hope this helps. good luck!
    chibitul, Apr 14, 2004
  5. John Purcell

    Rob O Guest

    John, like several other who have responded, I'd recommend calibrating
    your monitor first, as this is the most likely cause or your problem,
    But, after having done that, if your still having problems, check the
    color space your camera, software, and printer are using.

    Saving an image in one color space and displaying/printing it in
    another can cause some colors to shift. Frequently, just at one end of
    the spectrum. Although I'm not directly involved in the photography
    end of things (I'm a typesetter), I work in a pro photo lab, and share
    office space with retouchers and color correctors.

    When a color corrector notices any problems with the color of an
    image, they first checks the color space it was saved in. Quite
    often, correcting the color space can fix things. Its their biggest
    complaint, photographers sending images in with the wrong or no color
    space assigned.

    I'm no expert in color spaces, but I do no that converting from one to
    another can cause colors to be clipped if the destination space
    supports fewer colors.

    Anyway, its something to think about. Calibrate your monitor first,

    Rob O
    Rob O, Apr 14, 2004
  6. John Purcell

    John Purcell Guest

    Thanks for everyone's replies. I should have said that I'm pretty sure
    it's not my monitor, since the jpegs look as bad no matter which
    monitor I view them on. I'll try transferring them untouched to a
    different PC just to be doubly sure.

    I've splashed out on a new camera, since I'm thinking maybe my camera
    is just too cheap! I'm going for a C8080WZ - if that doesn't give me
    accurate colour reproduction, nothing will ...

    I'll post a pic somewhere so you can see what I mean if I get a chance
    John Purcell, Apr 15, 2004
  7. John Purcell

    Steve James Guest

    Some cameras, especially older ones don't have very accurate color
    response. Since your problem is worse on indoor photography I would
    suspect white balance problems. If you are getting a new camera, get
    one that allows manual white balance adjustment using a white (or gray
    card). Then you have a much better chance of getting good color
    reproduction under any lighting conditions. Monitor calibration is
    fine, but if you are making photos for the web, you have to keep in mind
    that >99% of the people viewing them won't be using calibrated monitors.
    Steve James, Apr 15, 2004
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