Exposing the truth: How to take unreal pics with your DSLR!!! -or- You are EXPOSED!

Harry_Y

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There's nothing wrong with using this to make sweet looking pics imo. As long as you understand the point of the post and don't misuse it.
Tell you the truth though I'm sure most people would rather see normal pictures of your tank [emoji3] if you have a Dslr then maybe you should ask the camera guys in the photography section. There's tons of knowledgeable picture takers on here.

For now just my Phones Camera, I just like to get a picture that looks like it does when I'm sitting in front of it.

A local guy told me to turn off my supplemental lighting and just take them under the 14K Halides

So I'll need to try that.
 

mangups

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If you have a decent DSLR Camera, as a lot of reef vendors and enthusiast do, you probably have a lot of questions as to how in the world some of these people get pics to look the way they do, as you think to yourself, does that coral really look like that? Well, that’s a great question with a myriad of good answers. Now, I am by no means an authority on photography, but I have managed to learn just enough over the years about how to shoot coral to have a decent understanding of how different lighting can affect the coral and the shot entirely. It's not an easy thing to master, and in saying that, by no means do I entertain any sort of accolade about my own skill, as I am still learning just as much as anyone else, but I’d like to try and share a few easy tips with you on how to achieve that near majestic exposure we are seeing more and more of.

Every DSLR has an internal setting for a custom white balance. Think of it like auto spell but for white balance. Once you've set your preset, it just crunches away in the background, correcting the white balance the best it knows how. The problem, much like with auto spell (at least for me, because I am a terrible typer) is that, sometimes it doesn’t know the word at all, and will piece together whatever it can to make something sensible out of the garble that I punch in.

Such is the way your custom WB function works. Especially in a hyper blue type setting, and I am really simplifying the mechanics of this process, but it’s working so hard to correct that extreme light, that it essentially “plugs in” whatever it can to make sense of the data, often resulting in something much farther away then the intended outcome. In coral photography, that result can be very pleasing. However in most cases, a bit too pleasing...

So, today I have decided to do a step by step tutorial on exactly how some of these otherworldly pics are actually taken. Now I realize that this isn’t really all that constructive. If anything a little low brow and maybe even a bit smarmy on my part. More of deliberate jab at some of the guys taking these kinds of pics and fooling you time and again with them. After this brief but detailed tutorial, you too will be able to take those kinds of pictures; the glowing yellows and reds, and the silky electric oranges that we all drool over time and again. At the very least, if you take anything away from this, you'll understand how easy it is to turn a good looking coral into a jaw dropping coral, without even coming near a saturation slider. Now I'm not singling anyone out here either I promise. This is not written for or at any specific vendor or commercial hobbyist, but if this write up makes you feel a little introspective at all, then I'm talking to you for sure.

For the sake of the lesson, I am going to just go ahead list the steps numerically with appropriate images in place. These functions are specific to Cannon, but I’d guess the Nikon settings are similar enough to wing it.


1. Turn off every color on your led fixture but the royal blue. Intensity isn’t super important but you’ll want enough light to get a good shot. At least 45-50 at least. A porthole type viewer for the camera will help tremendously but is not required.

2. In Auto WB mode go ahead and take a pic under that lighting.

3. Next go to menu and select the WB option. Figure 1


4. Select custom. Figure 2


5. Then select custom white balance just below that. Figure 3


6. It may warn you that somethings not quite right, but select the ultra blue pic that you just took and go ahead and hit ok. Figure 4. You have now created a WB preset for that spectrum. Go back to camera mode.



7. Now peek through the lens again, as the blue is stripped away and you are greeted by a collection of coral that you have never seen before.

8. Enjoy a brief moment of “ahh so thats how those…… do it”

9. Now go ahead focus and take a pic. That's it, you are done.



Below are some examples of pics taken under neutral colored lights with the camera back in the auto WB mode, and then using the method outlined above. To reiterate, these are two separate pics entirely. One was taken in normal light, and the other was taken using our new custom WB setting that we just learned under Royal Blue LED only. These are 100% unedited jpegs, processed by the camera only. I dumped them into Photos on a Mac, then uploaded to photo bucket. No post processing done at all in any way. Zero.


This


Becomes this


And this


Becomes this. Delicious isn't it?


This one is sick but watch.
This


Becomes this! Same acro I swear.


And just a couple more

This guy, wait for it


Turns into this! It's that easy! And I can even boast without lying that it's just an unprocessed pic, with no editing at all! For good measure. So what If I may have to explain that, well, it really only looks like this under so and such lighting, and at the right angle etc. You know you want a frag of this one. Resist!!!!!!


And finally, perhaps the grossest of them all. I'll admit that I was even tempted to pass this one off because of how insane it looked. For just one fleeting second or two, I had the feeling that now I have one of those. THIS THING IS ONE OF THOSE!! But alas, while it's a gem with loads of potential, It's a far cry from the multicolor wonder that my cannon created.

Lets go backwards,
Became this!!!




Actually is this.






So my good friends if you stuck it out for the whole spiel thank you. I know there was an underlined flavor of just plain "mean" to this whole thing, but remember, the next time you see a pic that just looks so friggen good, that you can’t even believe it, don’t. Because the coral does not look like that.
Sweet !!
 

650-IS350

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For taking misleading pics to sell coral is an issue which is what many vendors use it for.
Point is, if the picture is being used to show the potential buyer what they are paying for/buying, then modifying the picture regardlesss is in a way misleading. Especially new reefers or the NOT AS INFORMED reefers.

Its like meeting a girl the first time when their all dolled up, make up, jewellery and nice clothes but when all the make up is off, is that the girl you originally had interest in, that you saw originally as??
( sorry to the women, I'm just trying to put the most layman term here) and is somewhat comparable. Picture worth a thousand words. This goes the same with said coral, with all the blue lighting, reefbrights blasting it and of course PHOTOSHOP





 
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jasonandsarah

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Idk why there still isn't a thread calling out some of these pics? I mean there's so many people saying stuff but I look through the feedback threads and reviews and have yet to see someone show a picture of the coral they were sold and another picture of the coral they received.
Come on people! If you get scammed you should be voicing your loss! No need to let others suffer the same fate.

**rant over!**
 

FarmerTy

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Idk why there still isn't a thread calling out some of these pics? I mean there's so many people saying stuff but I look through the feedback threads and reviews and have yet to see someone show a picture of the coral they were sold and another picture of the coral they received.
Come on people! If you get scammed you should be voicing your loss! No need to let others suffer the same fate.

**rant over!**
Agreed! Or at least ask for a mother colony pic from the vendor or person selling the frag. It's much harder to doctor up a whole picture of the mother colony in the tank than a single frag on a black background.
 

jasonandsarah

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Agreed! Or at least ask for a mother colony pic from the vendor or person selling the frag. It's much harder to doctor up a whole picture of the mother colony in the tank than a single frag on a black background.
I mean to be honest most of this is targeted at newbies and ebayers. But I agree with what you said. I think for those mythical unicorn Acro's (the ones that look like rainbows in the pic and then when you get them there just green and brown!!) The person should have to show a updated pic months later.
Imo frags do change color in shipping and every Acro's different but MOST sps only have slight variations in color due to stress. They don't just do a 360°.
 

Wesley42079

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Point is, if the picture is being used to show the potential buyer what they are paying for/buying, then modifying the picture regardlesss is in a way misleading. Especially new reefers or the NOT AS INFORMED reefers.

Its like meeting a girl the first time when their all dolled up, make up, jewellery and nice clothes but when all the make up is off, is that the girl you originally had interest in, that you saw originally as??
( sorry to the women, I'm just trying to put the most layman term here) and is somewhat comparable. Picture worth a thousand words. This goes the same with said coral, with all the blue lighting, reefbrights blasting it and of course PHOTOSHOP





These before and after photos are hilarious.
 

ReefMadScientist

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Too bad these "people" cannot be called out. Its totally obvious and you have people that respond to those threads saying "OMG so awesome", "Wow I want", and so on.

Just funny.

Oh and you have certain "people" not listing prices in their threads anymore because everyone knows they charge a left kidney. ALL vendors should be required to list a price.
 

ReefMadScientist

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So R2R doesn't want us to call these vendors out when its clear its fake. It looks like there is black tar all over his plugs lol.

I swear most vendors are killing this hobby. Its gross and sad.

I am sorta happy they will soon ban corals importing. People and their greedy camera tricks are ruining this hobby. Slobs.

Oh I forgot...its not coral importing, its called "culturing" for the sake of corals lol. While they manipulate the pictures to sell for big bucks.
 

joshkirkland83

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Idk why there still isn't a thread calling out some of these pics? I mean there's so many people saying stuff but I look through the feedback threads and reviews and have yet to see someone show a picture of the coral they were sold and another picture of the coral they received.
Come on people! If you get scammed you should be voicing your loss! No need to let others suffer the same fate.

**rant over!**
Thats what im saying. People are quick to call out photos, but where are the persons who bought the coral. Why arent they saying it doesnt look like the photo?? I dont have a ph.d but something doesnt add up if you ask me...
 

Latinreefer

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I think if they would let us call them out they would loose business and they wouldn't sponsor R2R, I only think R2R doesn't want to loose any sponsors, but reality is its really only 2 or 3 that really over exaggerate coral color. This is just my .02
 

RAD01

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Oh and you have certain "people" not listing prices in their threads anymore because everyone knows they charge a left kidney. ALL vendors should be required to list a price.[/QUOTE]

I agree, vendors should post prices I don't know what the big mystery is with the price.
 

dragonfisher33

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so my canon t3i, using the trick of custom white balance, produces pictures that are a bit yellow. my green monti that has purple edge doesn't have the purple on picture. any idea?
 

hybridazn

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Man a certain coral floating around with these techniques right now.

A dead give away for me is the pitch black back ground in pictures.
Screenshot_2016-02-01-22-32-04-1.png


All black background, must be shopped right?
 

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