I was reading some posts in the Blotanical Forum on photographing flowers where SueInMilan was expressing frustration with trying to capture the color red with her digital camera. Despite all her efforts she was unable to produce an image that properly rendered the true color.
As Izyjo explained in a response to Sue’s post, it’s one of the problems with digital photography. The camera sensor doesn’t seem to capture reds particularly well, especially on the automatic setting.
Of course, a proper exposure (the perfect combination of shutter speed and lens opening for the ISO speed being used) is helpful. Also, photos of flowers (of any color – but especially red) should never be taken in direct sunlight. If you want to photograph the flowers in your garden wait for an overcast day. If you’re in another location and want to take the photo when the sun is shining on it, try to shade the flower with your body, or have someone hold something above it for shade.
Even then, the results aren’t always satisfactory, as you can see in the photo below. The color isn’t too bad, but if you click on the image to enlarge it, you’ll see some of the annoying magenta colors that creep into where shades of red should be.
I adjusted the colors and the tonal range of the photo on my computer using Picasa, a free photo management program. In the editing mode, using Basic Fixes, you can click on “I’m Feeling Lucky” – a quick fix for lighting and color. If you don’t like the results, you can ‘undo’ the adjustment and click on the ‘Tuning’ tab. There you can adjust the amount of ‘shadow’ to help darken the reds. Then in the ‘Effects’ tab, you can sharpen the image a bit, and get the following result.
Some may argue that the adjusted image is a bit too saturated with the red, but I think it is an improvement.