Friday, August 8, 2014

photos that just won't

 so, i know a thing or two about photography. i really do. i have a good camera and a fantastic lens. i use natural light whenever possible and often wait until i can get it to photograph something. i know how to shoot in manual. i adjust my white balance and exposure compensation all the time. i know what aperture means and which way to go when i want more light or depth of field. yeah, i know all that stuff. i aim to take pleasing photos "in camera" and don't edit hardly ever, at all. this works pretty well for me most of the time.

however, i am having a hard time with the latest fabrics i've been using. despite the natural light and adjustments, they just don't look good. whenever i take a detail shot, i end up with what looks like a terrible flash photograph. just look at the ugly pictures i got when shooting in the lovely location above:

white balance - shade; too yellow

white balance - sunlight; slightly grey

white balance - sunlight, exposure adjusted +1 for more light; washed out and colors too bright
 and what happens on the design wall is even worse. i really do try to square myself with what i'm shooting, but it's difficult in the room with the table in the middle of everything taking up all the space. i stand behind it or on it when necessary.

  i tried to get a shot of part of the quilt on the design wall in natural afternoon light. it looks like a nasty indoor flash photo to me. is it that the intense colors in this quilt are difficult to photograph or is it me? the reds, in particular, are always off. and i either get slightly grey photos with not enough light in the whites or nice bright whites but the other colors are too intense and/or washed out.

here's the setting where i'm shooting the design wall photos, all natural light only:

white balance - shade; too yellow
 btw, my walls are a buttery yellow color, best captured on the left behind the ironing board in the above photo.

white balance - daylight; greyish, especially in the whites.

white balance - daylight, adjust exposure +1 for more light; washed out and colors are lurid
i know all our screens won't be synced, so this may come across differently from where you sit, but maybe you see what i'm talking about. any suggestions?

fyi - i shoot with a canon 60d body,and canon ef 24-70mm 2.8 apt ultrasonic L series zoom lens.


  1. I feel you! Sometimes it just seems impossible to get a good photo regardless of the conditions or the amount of knowledge we have! Have you taken it outside? Natural light outside is different than natural light inside. I get the best pictures in the shade of the house, but with no roof overhead. And you can always resort to post camera editing - it really can work wonders!! I like, it does just as good a job or better than photoshop. Good luck!!

  2. I don't have any great insight, other than to share that I often have the same sorts of problems! I'd probably take it outside... but even that doesn't fix it some days!

  3. Have you tried a custom WB using a color checker in your shot? Maybe the buttery light reflected from your walls is throwing off the WB in your camera? see link on canon's website

    I know its best to try in camera as much as possible but have you tried adjusting in Lightroom? Cameras as brilliant as they are sometimes can use a little help in post especially in tricky lighting.


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