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Very Bold colors


I have a bit of trouble. Sometimes under stage lights, the colors in my pictures are very bold. I often have to turn down the viberance in Lightrom. Is there any thing that I can do to fix these while I am photographing? I have a t3i


You can't white balance stage lights because it's not just one color temperature of light.


If you're shooting a scene which is light entirely by the same type of florescent light, then you can use white balance to correct for that.  But if you're shooting a scene which has some "white" incandescent lights and florescent lights in the same picture, then you can correctly white balance only for one of those light sources, but not the other (not both at the same time.)  


Stage lighting is a bit like this because there are often red, green, and blue floods.  Ideally the point of these was that for theatrical lighting, they could "white balance" the whole scene because the lights where all aimed in the same place.  So by slightly turning up the red and turning down the blue, they could "warm" the scene.  I've noticed that in some venues, they don't converge the lights (the reds, blues, and greens are not necessarily even pointing in the same place.)   You'll need to do your light adjustment artistically by what you like as there is no "correct" (since the lighting was not set up to create "white" light nor anything even remotely close.)


Take a look at the image below:


Cary Brothers.jpg


Look carefully at the keyboard.  We know all the keys are the same "white" color in real life.  But the keys at one end of the keyboard have a blue/green color cast while the keys at the opposite end have a warmer orange cast.  You can see the same effects if you look at the collar area of his white shirt.   In the end, I look at the skin tones on his face and do the best I can with it.


If you were NOT shooting stage lighting, then yes... a gray card will help you render more accurate color temperatures, but not necessarily more accurate color saturation levels.  A color card (e.g. something like an X-Rite Color-Checker **bleep** card) will help you get the saturation levels correct.  


The human eye is mostly sensitive to greens because that's smack in the middle of the visible light spectrum.  We are less sensitive to violets and blues (especially violets) and also less sensitive to reds.  A digital sensor with no bayer mask is technically somewhat equally sensitive to wavelengths across the range, but the camera has a a "bayer mask" overlaying the sensor which is has more green than anything and on top of that, the filter in front of the sensor trims light transmission for the wavelengths on either side of the middle of the spectrum.  This helps the camera more closely approximate the sensitivity of the human eye so the photos look more "natural" to us humans (despite the fact that our eyes don't perceive all wavelengths of visible light equally).  


However, what the camera does just the best approximation of the human eye (and we actually do know that different humans have varying levels of sensitivity ... you might actually see more violet than I can see.  Also this changes with age.  The amount of violet you saw when you were 10 was probably stronger than the amount of violet you can see when you're 50.)    A camera, might be a little more sensitive to, say, reds than it is to blues.   The idea behind the color checker tools is to provide various squares of colors to get the color values accurate (not just the white balance.)



Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da

View solution in original post


If you haven't already done so, try setting the Picture Style to Neutral or Faithful. This tends to mute the colors a bit.

Ok. Now when I do that I can push up the colors again in Lightroom right? I don't lose any of the informaiton?

Anytime you believe you're going to need to do quite a bit of adjustment in Lightroom you should shoot RAW.  When you do this, all original information is retained.  Also picture styles, white balance (which you'd never want to do with color stage lighting anyway) will be ignored since it's going to be adjusted on the computer.


Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da

Can you explain the your white balance comment? I shot in raw so how does that effect the styles?

"I shot in raw so how does that effect the styles?"


It doesn't in RAW.  RAW is the total amount of infomation the camera captured.  It must, however, be post-processed with software.  You will tell it what, why and how on everything.  Plus there is much more data than a jpeg offers which is processed in the camera.  Everything is better.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!

When you use RAW mode, the camera is not allowed to do anything to the image that would result in a loss of original data.

When you shoot in JPEG the camera behaves like a little photo-lab in the camera. It may apply white balance, picture styles, high ISO noise reduction, edge sharpening, etc. But the biggest issue with JPEG is the JPEG compression -- which takes advantage of weaknesses in the human eye. We are quite good at noticing sub,the differences in brightness... Not so good at noticing differences in hue. The algorithm normalizes similar hues (to improve compression) but this results in the loss of subtle detail if you need to adjust the image after shooting.

Since the point of a RAW image format is not to discard original data, the image is more easily adjusted after shooting. JPEG is an excellent "final" image format. RAW is a much better intermediate format because it has more adjustment latitude for adjusting.
Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da

I looking for information on the actually raw file and the control of the colors. I once shot a concert in raw and under neutral and I it seems like I lost all the color. In lightroom I tried to turn up the colors but all I got was a red pink color on the models skin. I wanted to know why I seemed to loose all the other colors?

Can you post an example or two? This might help folks figure out what is going wrong.

"I once shot a concert in raw and under neutral ..."


This has no effect when using RAW.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!
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