Photography, Cycling and the Internets

Yellow Mustard

I find yellow flowers extremely challenging to photograph.  I’m not sure why they always lose their detail and appear so flat.  No matter how I work the camera and the post-processing I always struggle with a attaining rich looking image.  I’d love to hear pointers on how to make yellows feel as sharp and deep as other colors.

This image was taken in a very vibrant field of yellow mustard.  The colors were fantastic.  While this is nice and I like this image quite a bit, It doesn’t capture what I saw.  It was all much more vibrant and had more texture in the petals.

Yellow Mustard


9 responses

  1. Really, what did you see because I think this is a great shot. I like the background as well.

    May 20, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    • The details in the petals are missing when the vibrancy of the flower is showing. I had to mute the colors here to get this result, but still, there are missing details. I suppose I could have done HDR to get at it, if it wasn’t so windy, but for some reason yellow just ends up flat. No texture.

      May 20, 2010 at 6:27 pm

  2. Lovely shot – but I agree with what you say about yellow flowers – somehow the detail just seems to completely wash out of them. I find the only time of day when yellow flowers are somewhat possible to photograph are just before sunset, in that warm light. That seems to liven them up a little bit. Mid-day light just doesn’t do them any favours.

    May 21, 2010 at 12:20 am

  3. I’ve heard that yellow is difficult to photograph, but I usually don’t have that problem? I do tend to underexpose slightly, maybe that’s the trick?? Then in post-processing I work with layers so I can lighten/darken/etc. just a certain part of the image.
    I think yellow pops a little more, too, when you have a darker background, but I like the yellow on yellow here.

    May 21, 2010 at 3:53 am

  4. Me, too!! Not many yellow flowers posted on my blog because of it, and not for lack of trying! For me it has to do with the background color…sometimes I can get the flower to look good, but the background is just, well, yuck. I think you did well here by keeping all the tones essentionally the same. Underexposure may have helped a bit to pull out the flower details.

    May 21, 2010 at 5:26 am

  5. Hello Sean. Correct me if I am wrong but I think the camera is unable to capture the full dynamic range of the subject that our eyes see due to the more reflective nature of brighter colors such as yellow. I suppose HDR can solve this. Personally, I have the same approach as thedailyclick by underexposing the subject and working with layers in post-processing the shot.

    May 21, 2010 at 10:23 am

  6. Thanks all, I’ll do a bulk reply here. 🙂

    Simone, thanks. I have had a bit more success at sunset, but still I struggle some.

    Michaela, Tracy & Vincet, yes, I’ll have to give underexposing a try. It’s a tricky color. I also find that when there is any other color as part of the flower, the detail returns.

    Thanks all for the feedback and suggestions!!

    May 21, 2010 at 4:50 pm

  7. absurdoldbird

    Yellow’s not just difficult to photograph, it’s difficult to manipulate digitally in paint, as well (at least, I find it so). I think it’s because it reflects too much light and unless one counterbalances it with a contrasting colour (for instance, violet) it doesn’t really hold much in the way of shadows.

    Personally I’d (also) underexpose it and then adjust it in photoshop or a similar program.

    May 21, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    • Thanks for the additional info, Val. I’m glad it’s not just me. It’s also interesting that it is challenging in other media as well.

      May 22, 2010 at 10:35 am

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