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Saturated or slightly muted portrait?

Discussion in 'Street, Documentary, and Portrait' started by dylandingo, Mar 25, 2012.

  1. dylandingo

    dylandingo Mu-43 Regular

    186
    Nov 12, 2011
    La Crosse, WI
    6869653610_053e36dd45_b.
    or

    Taken with my E-p2 and the Olympus 45mm 1.8
     
    • Like Like x 2
  2. LindaZ

    LindaZ Mu-43 Regular

    48
    Mar 16, 2012
    North Carolina
    Sat, nice colors and the background is still desaturated. Nicely done with the light.
     
  3. Livnius

    Livnius Super Moderator

    Jul 7, 2011
    Melbourne. Australia
    Joe
    +1 Saturated.

    Nothing against muted tones for portraits, just in this case it's a little too muted and comes across as being a little somber. A potential solution could be to add a warming color cast....perhaps a yellow then desaturating.

    Nice shots btw.
     
  4. dylandingo

    dylandingo Mu-43 Regular

    186
    Nov 12, 2011
    La Crosse, WI
    Thanks, I have been leaning more on the muted side but maybe I'll try making it a little less muted and see if I like that. Otherwise, I do like the saturated one but I think I need to rework that a little too because the yellow cast under the chin has been starting to bug me. I have a few from this batch I need to edit so I appreciate the advice because I most likely edit them in the same sort of tone.
     
  5. captevo

    captevo Mu-43 Regular

    179
    Mar 14, 2012
    +1 for muted.
     
  6. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    Vin
    I actually like muted but your two examples are a bit on the extremes... 1 is too saturated and 2 is too muted. If you can bring up the saturation just a tad on 2 it would be just right (for me).
     
  7. blaffendespin

    blaffendespin Mu-43 Regular

    153
    Feb 28, 2012
    Rexburg, ID
    I'm a big fan of the saturations, but I would have to agree that #1 needs to be toned down a bit. Somewhere inbetween the two, IMO. Looks great though!
     
  8. Livnius

    Livnius Super Moderator

    Jul 7, 2011
    Melbourne. Australia
    Joe
    +1
     
  9. 0dBm

    0dBm Mu-43 Top Veteran

    859
    Jun 30, 2011
    Western United States
    As can be told by the images that I post, I prefer saturation; particularly in landscapes. It's how I see things. I'm likely going colorblind as I age.
     
  10. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    There's a third option in Aperture, Lightroom, PS, and possibly other processing apps. It's called "Vibrancy" and basically it does the same as the Saturation control without affecting skin colors. You may find that it gives you the boost you want without causing a color cast to skin tones.
     
  11. Somewhere in middle, but probably closer to the muted example as Spatulaboy said.
     
  12. nseika

    nseika Mu-43 Veteran

    260
    Nov 22, 2010
    Jakarta, Indonesia
    Lois
    Siding with muted
    Strong saturation often made my eyes tired more quickly, especially viewed on screen
     
  13. sprinke

    sprinke Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 5, 2011
    Pasadena, CA
    Debi
    I prefer the muted. The saturated has its merits but the yellowness under the chin just turns me off. What I'd like to see actually is the muted, but turn off the muting on the eyes and make them really pop like in the saturated version. Also maybe bring back a little pink on the lips and cheeks.
     
  14. dylandingo

    dylandingo Mu-43 Regular

    186
    Nov 12, 2011
    La Crosse, WI
    I actually used the Vibrancy settings in Aperture but I also turned the saturation down. So I think I'm going to work with the muted photo and just turn the saturation back up a bit.
     
  15. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    My understanding is that the only difference in Aperture between Vibrancy and Saturation is in the area of skin tones—both do the same thing but Saturation affects all tones and Vibrancy affects all tones apart from skin tones. Seems odd to me to use both for the one shot.

    Are you shooting RAW or JPEG and is the "Muted" you mention the "Muted" the camera's Muted picture mode? The picture modes are part of the camera's JPEG processing and don't effect the RAW files so the only advantage to setting the camera to Muted and shooting RAW is the way the LCD screen renders images while you're shooting or examining results. If you're shooting JPEG, then it seems odd to me to desaturate the JPEG in camera with the Muted setting and then to add back saturation in post-processing. I'd try shooting in Natural or even Vivid mode to see if the in-camera JPEG processing gave me the result I wanted.

    I'm not certain that desaturating JPJEGs in camera with the Muted setting and then adding saturation back in post processing using either Saturation or Vibrancy will result in a different, or even a worse, result than shooting in a Picture Mode that delivers more of the kind of result you want in camera and then doing less in post-processing but at a theoretical level it seems to me that it would be preferable to either do minimal in-camera processing and do all of the processing in post-processing or to do in-camera processing and follow up with minimal post-processing. I can't see any benefit in desaturating JPEG files in camera and then choosing to add saturation back in post-processing, or in using the Vibrancy control to boost saturation and then using Saturation to remove some of the saturation added by the Vibrancy control. It seems likely to me that whatever result you want to achieve, it's more likely to be better achieved by using one approach with a bit more subtlety than by over-adjusting with one control and then correcting that over-adjustment with a different control.

    I'm certainly not a post-processing expert, or an expert on Olympus' JPEG settings as I shoot RAW, but the one big lesson I've learnt about using Aperture in the time I've been using it is that using as few controls as possible, and using those controls as carefully as possible, is a lot more likely to give me a result I'm happy with than using more controls and correcting issues arising from one control in another control where I can avoid that. We all find our own ways of doing things and we certainly don't all have to do things in the same way or aim for the same end result but I do think that however you want to work and whatever result you want to achieve, there are benefits to doing things in the simplest way possible and avoiding using 2 or more processes if you can get the result you want with fewer processes by either doing it slightly differently or being a little more careful in how you do it.
     
  16. Vibrancy basically works like a less scattergun approach to saturation, and I believe that Aperture goes a step further and also takes skin tones into account as described above. Increasing saturation will increase all colours equally and will cause already highly saturated colours to clip if used excessively. Vibrancy will determine the existing saturation levels and apply more saturation to undersaturated colours whilst not allowing already saturated colours to clip.
     
  17. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    Went digging into the PDF manual for Aperture:

    "You use the Vibrancy parameter controls when you want to add a bit of punch to the image without affecting skin tones. The Vibrancy parameter applies saturation to the image in a nonlinear manner. Colors that are already saturated are left alone, while saturation is added to all other colors. In addition, the Vibrancy parameter takes skin tones into account, leaving them untouched. This allows you to take a portrait and desaturate the image except for the skin tones."

    That confirms Nic's point about it not affecting already saturated colours and my point about it not touching skin tones.
     
  18. dylandingo

    dylandingo Mu-43 Regular

    186
    Nov 12, 2011
    La Crosse, WI
    Yeah I shoot it in RAW and edited it that way. I wanted to tone down the skin town while keeping everything else somewhat saturated but I think I will bump the saturation back up to it's neutral setting or a wee bit lower. I will post another photo here soon. Thanks for the critiques.
     
  19. dylandingo

    dylandingo Mu-43 Regular

    186
    Nov 12, 2011
    La Crosse, WI
    The original muted photo

    And the new version

    I toned down the yellow a little too so there isn't so much of a yellow cast under her chin.
     
  20. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    The yellow cast under the chin is probably a reflection from her blouse. It's fascinating how often we find things in photos that we didn't notice at the time we took the shot.