Fall has finally arrived! And, with it comes the bright and bold colors of leaves, pumpkins and other fall vegetation. These vibrant colors are stunning. When captured in a photo, the rich yellows, oranges and reds can really stand out.  However, knowing how to photograph vivid colors can be tricky. Here are eight tips to help you photograph vibrant colors this season.


how to photograph vibrant colors #photography

Vibrant Tip #1: Underexpose

When photographing vivid colors, such as yellow, focus on something green first. Focus your light meter on the green object and then underexpose 2-3 stops for the yellow object. You can not photograph vivid colors if you do not have proper exposure. This is really important when shooting bright colors.

Vibrant Tip #2: Diffuse Your Flash

If you need to use your flash when photographing vibrant fall colors, make sure you diffuse your flash. This will help soften the light and avoid any blown-out spots on your subject. This will also eliminate the flash reflecting off your subject.

how to photograph vibrant colors #photography

Vibrant Tip #3: Change Saturation Setting

On most digital SLR cameras, there is a manual setting called “Saturation.” This setting can be found in your menu.

For Canon Users:

canon color saturation menu

On a Canon camera, you will find the Saturation setting under Picture Style. You will have 6 default picture styles to choose from: Landscape, Neutral, Portrait, etc). You can also set 3 user defined settings. With a style selected, press the “INFO” button. There you can up the saturation level.

For Nikon Users:

how to photograph vibrant colors #photography

On a Nikon camera, you can find the Saturation setting under “Picture Controls.” Then select VI for vivid colors.

Vibrant Tip #4: Go RAW

When you shoot in the RAW {instead of JPEG}, you have access to every bit of data collected by your camera’s sensor when you upload the file onto your computer. When you post-process a RAW file, you can recover a lot more in the picture, including details, lighting, and of course, color.

Vibrant Tip #5: Set Your White Balance

White balance is really important when capturing vivid colors. This might be a great time to set a custom white balance. Don’t know how? Read my white balance tutorial. As always, I set my white balance to “cloudy” when shooting outdoors. This results in the most true-to-life color if I don’t want to or don’t have time to set a custom white balance.

Vibrant Tip #6: Watch Your Reds

Remember when we experimented with shooting the color red? The color red can be a difficult color to photograph since it’s very saturated color. When you add in a little {or a lot of} sunlight, you could find yourself with a bright and blown-out picture. To help with this, read your histogram to make sure you don’t blow your red channels.

how to photograph vibrant colors #photography

Vibrant Tip #7: Calibrate Your Monitor

When I purchased my new desktop, the first thing I did was calibrate my monitor. Why? All monitors display colors in a variety of contrasts and brightness. You want to make sure your screen is calibrated so that the colors you see on the screen match the colors of your photos. Your monitor might have a calibrate system on it {mine did!} or you can purchase a calibration program.

Vibrant Tip #8: Use Your Surroundings

To enhance the saturation of the colors, try shooting near reflectors. Glass buildings, mirrors, and bodies of water help saturate the image with colors and enhance your photograph. Plus, they provide great backdrops! 

Your challenge this week is to capture all the vibrant colors of autumn around you. Anything and everything is game. Get creative, have fun and don’t forget to share your photographs on our Facebook page!
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