Folksy Ltd

Tips for photographing green?

Do you have any tips for photographing green? I’ve finally invested in some lighting and have been slowly updating some of my photos but I’m having such a problem getting green.

I have a bridge camera, my brother has a DSLR and is heavily into landscape/nature photography so he knows his way around a camera but not necessarily product photos.

He has been through every setting I have on my camera, every setting he has on his camera, and we’ve even tried mobile phones and tablets but we can’t get true (or close) colour.

These are outside in natural light. The green in real life is quite a bright emerald green but this is the best we can get.

This is the photo from the yarn manufacturers website which still doesn’t show true colour but is more emerald than mine.

Shoot one picture with a plain white paper or a grey card so you can custom select the white balance on post processing. Or to get it right SOOC, adjust/set your white balance before shooting. If you don’t want to reshoot, bring up the shadows a tiny bit at a time and add a bit of warmth. Decrease you saturation a bit so you don’t lose details on your reds.

You need to find the adjustments for Custom White Balance.

Bring up the shadows, watch the highlights and go easy on the contrast and saturation.

It is probably the fact that the camera is compensating for the bright red yarn. Red and green are measured on separate scales if you break down the graph which shows the distribution of light in the photo editing softwear. If you intensify the green, you will also dull down the red and vice versa. I would try adjusting the different hues separately. You may find that when you have done this there may also be a blue cast that you also need to adjust.

Sam x

That’s nothing like true colour. I know it’s obviously hard because you can’t see the item in real life.

As I said, we’ve gone all through all the settings. We’ve adjusted the white balance and taken a photo at every white balance setting and the same with the temperature adjustments.

I’m currently knitting in the same green (just the one colour) and am having the same problem.

I know that’s nothing like the green yarn, upscaling from a small file is still not widely available nor recovering data from a small, low dpi image.

Using the preset white balance settings on the camera and temperature adjustments are not very useful in product photography. You need to set the custom white balance manually so your camera takes in the quality of light at the time of shooting including the colour casts of the surroundings.

When you shoot dark green, shoot it a bit brighter with softer light. It is easier to adjust than shooting with a darker image. And invest in a WB grey card and colour checker for colour accuracy.

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It might still be a good idea to have a look at the graphs. If you do you might find that the peak for green (and possibly for blue) is much smaller than the same peak for red. You can then adjust this using a sliding scale if this is present on your softwear and rectify the problem. The adjusted graphs will then show a smaller red peak and a larger green one.

I don’t tend to have this problem with green in my photography, but I do have it when photographing purple stones like amethyst, which often come out greyish because of a surfeit of yellow in the ambient light. I try to push up the magenta tones and remove the amber ones as much as possible to return the amethyst to it’s correct colour.

Sam x

I always have a nightmare with green as well x

I am a professional photographer so I have experience of this kind of thing and in my experience you will not be able to get this looking right without using software such as Photoshop. What Handigift said is the way to go - you can select just the green areas and bring up the brightness, saturation, shadows and so on and if necessary adjust the tone to it looking the way you want. You also need to bear in mind that not all colours that the human eye sees can be transferred through the medium of a camera sensor/computer monitor so in some cases the colour just will not be achievable. Generally it should be possible to reach an acceptable compromise though. Your photo from the manufacturers site is brighter and contains more yellow than your photo so selecting the green areas, making them brighter and adding yellow will get close to that colour.
One other thing when you are taking the photo, usually flat light with no shadows is a good way to light objects but sometimes a bit of more direct light will help add vibrance to colours. You could try using a little bit of fill in flash - but preferably not on the camera, position it off to one side or another, set it to underexpose by about 1 stop and maybe put a piece of tracing paper over it to soften it a little. Apologies if this is getting too in depth!
Hope that helps. Good luck.

I definitely think this is a job for photo editing software after, rather than being able to get it perfect while you take it. I have the same problem with teal (and a little with purple, but I find teal much worse). I try to get it as close as I can on the camera with the white balance, and then mess around in software to tweak things further.

Whatever you use to edit your photos, look around for some colour settings (colour balance and hue are my most used) and have a little play to see how they change things. Often with these frustrating colours everything else will look right, and it’s just one particular colour that looks off, so you’ll want the settings that separate colours out more so you don’t make everything else look wrong while you fix the green. Remember it’s normally better to change things a little at a time rather than do big jumps, or the colours can go wildly different. Sometimes one setting will get you a little closer, and you need another one to get it just right.

You definitely need to lighten up the green a little, because they don’t change much when they’re too dark. Sometimes I also find fixing the colour gives a tinge to the background (which is when it’s easier to have a pure white background), but obviously with your white centre that’s not easy, so I just had to lighten it a little so the greyish white didn’t look too greenish white.

Although it’s hard to tell if it’s right without being able to see the actual item, trying to guess what green it might be because even searching “emerald green” brings up lots of different greens :laughing: