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How To Photograph Vibrant Colors Without Overdoing It

By Michelle Ecker on October 17, 2020

How To Photograph Vibrant Colors Without Overdoing It

When it comes to super vibrant HDR photography, many photographers struggle between the balance of capturing a great deal of intense color in scenery and completely oversaturating and overdoing the composition. So how can you find the right balance? 

What Camera Settings Work Best for Photographing Vibrant Colors? 

When it comes to the issue of oversaturation, the key setting you need to be mindful of is your white balance. The wrong setting of white balance is what will ultimately wind up making a photograph of a very colorful setting look unpleasantly intense. 

This is also the setting adjustment to pay attention to when you feel like the colors rendered in your photographers don’t exactly match the colors in the actual scene you’re looking at. 

There's no specific step-by-step we can tell you that is going to work best for every scene. Your white balance setting all depends on the lighting conditions around you, the colors you are capturing, and the time of day. You are going to have to instead be mindful of that setting and toggle the white balance accordingly through trial and error as you determine which outcome leaves your images looking accurate but not overdone. 

Another important setting that can help you prevent jarring oversaturation in photography is your color temperature setting. Typically, the issue photographers face with color inaccuracy is that their image either renders too “yellowish” or too “blue.” Adjusting your color balance accordingly is the best way to accommodate this issue until you find results you’re satisfied with. 

What Aperture Works Best For Colorful Scenes? 

Another common issue photographers face when photographing an especially color-filled scene is that certain colors blend too much rather than being represented vibrantly on their own. 

For example, if you are photographing a really beautiful tree in autumn when it’s colors have changed, maybe the majority of the leaves are bright orange, but a handful of leaves are a really nice shade of yellow. Without making the proper setting adjustments, it’s likely your shot will leave the entire tree looking that majority orange. 

You can use adjustments to your aperture to help separate colors and make sure they are all represented with similar clarity. To achieve this, try working with a larger aperture setting than you are probably used to. Try something like f/1.8 to start, and increase that up to around f/2.8 until you find the results you are looking for. 

Want to Learn More About Photography? 

The New York Institute of Photography offers plenty of online, self-paced courses for creatives who are looking to receive more formal instruction and training to improve their photography skills. If you want to get started with a program like this, click here for more information or call 1 800-583-1736 to speak with an NYIP mentor like about the class.