Let’s take a look at some EXIF data: A semi-aggressive and unprovoked dive into photographic dupery

Jlobes

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Jun 30, 2012
Messages
5,996
Reaction score
1,213
Location
Behind the redwood curtain
@Berlibee answer is in this response. we all know that things get edited, it has to happen for things to look "right", but that editing should not be used to make the coral look like a different coral or something you wont get...

Here is an example of my editing process to show that just because it was edited doesn't mean it was done to fool you. These photos were all taken under T5, LED combo (5 blue plus, 1 coral plus, 2 aqua blue special) and 2 reefbrite blues. All bulbs on.

Here's straight off the camera (I used a Nikon which does not have good custom white balance, so it looked like this first). The white balance on the camera was set to "auto" because I knew it didn't matter since I'd be adjusting it in LR anyway (the camera chose a setting of 7300K for what its worth)


Here's after photoshop. My goal was to make it look like it does in real life. And this is my interpretation of what it looks like in real life. There was a lot of work needed. The white balance was adjusted to 18,000K. The hue was adjusted to more of a red tone because the image was too blue (my T5's have a more warm cast to them in real life). The image was over exposed so I turned the exposure down by about 1 stop. I also decreased the highlights so you could see more of the detail in the brighter portions of the photo. I increased the vibrancy bar and saturation bars slightly because the photo looked duller than real life. Then I sharpened it and transferred it to photoshop. There I used a filter to adjust the contrast. I think that was about it. One way I can tell if the picture is natural or not is to look at the color of the live rock (when visible). If you look at the bottom left corner of the picture you can see the coralline algae, grey rock, and other colors that we would expect to see when looking at live rock under day lights. It looks very natural to my eyes and that's how I know I made an accurate photo. Now, with this being said there are tricks to get around this (such as using masks so you only apply certain edits to certain areas of the photo), but this is usually easy to spot too.


As another example, here's what it looks like with more unnatural edits. This time I used the same edits as above, but cranked them up to unnatural levels to show you what is possible. Obviously this photo looks more colorful, but clearly its not right. It looks like a neon poster under a black light.
So I still don't understand hmmm you edit colors as well if we're looking by your EXIF. But not so "Toxic" :) I'm not trolling you and always posted only positive feedbacks about your products and will order corals and skimmer from you anyway. Just want to understand better your position. :)
 
OP
Battlecorals

Battlecorals

Aquaculturist
View Badges
Joined
Oct 15, 2009
Messages
4,414
Reaction score
6,324
Location
Wisconsin
So I still don't understand hmmm you edit colors as well if we're looking by your EXIF. But not so "Toxic" :) I'm not trolling you and always posted only positive feedbacks about your products and will order corals and skimmer from you anyway. Just want to understand better your position. :)

Hi Alexey! No it's great man appreciate the post. And good point. I mean my pics all are edited as well so I would expect the same kind of scrutiny i have expressed that you show others. Just as Jason stated above, post processing is essential for accurate replication. Especially if you shoot in RAW which I do. Would be happy to take you through the entire process of how I edited that exact pic if you like.

The adjustments I made were done to correct any light and color issues that the RAW image picked up witch looked like the pic below. Obviously not how I saw them in person. The beauty of shooting in RAW is that it allows me to replicate, to the best of my abilities how they do look in person. I'd like to invite the buyer of this pack to chime in if he feels like it, and let me know how i did on the pic as well.


 

monkiboy

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Nov 19, 2012
Messages
1,048
Reaction score
288
Location
dc
Cool trick, but it appears as though it rarely works. I've yet to find a picture other than your own where it doesn't say "No color space metadata and no embedded color profile"
the only ones I could find that worked in the tool from several vendor's threads were reef pets and reef raft. several other popular vendors I was hoping for some insight on did not work with the tool.
 

gdemos

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Mar 19, 2013
Messages
323
Reaction score
63
Location
RI
Buy a small pack from a
Vendor, not a crazy priced pack but something they have photographed. Dip it, qt it, put it in your tank and revisit it in a few months then decide if it is worth being a repeat customer.

Or, go nuts and buy based on pics, get disappointed, second guess your reef keeping, let the vendor tell you it's your system at fault, go down a path of dependency And become a dilusioned repeat customer of a shady vendor.

I wish I had photo skills. I have a Nikon d90 and struggle to turn it on. The best I can do is put a gel on my iPhone and click. It helps improve the image without being crazy
 
OP
Battlecorals

Battlecorals

Aquaculturist
View Badges
Joined
Oct 15, 2009
Messages
4,414
Reaction score
6,324
Location
Wisconsin
the only ones I could find that worked in the tool from several vendor's threads were reef pets and reef raft. several other popular vendors I was hoping for some insight on did not work with the tool.
Yes unfortunately it's not as universally applicable as I wish it was, but the theme of the write up still sheds light once again on a topic that does need to be reinforced often. Thanks for the post!
 

SandJ

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Sep 6, 2015
Messages
887
Reaction score
1,361
Just a thought, but what if someone produced a color wheel (maybe with red, white, blue, and yellow-or with even more colors), printed on a small piece of plastic that could be placed next to the coral for sale. If that was made available for customers to order and have in hand to compare to what they seen on the screen it may be possible to tell how much the colors differ from real life.

It could be a standard of sorts.
 

Scottsquatch

Glad to be back!
View Badges
Joined
Nov 29, 2015
Messages
550
Reaction score
587
Location
Cloquet, MN
This is one of the main reasons I decided that BC is gonna be my "go to" source for corals. Adam is up front that he DOES edit his pics and he tells why he does it and how he does it. Really refreshing to find with all the over-hyped crap for sale out there.
 

monkiboy

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Nov 19, 2012
Messages
1,048
Reaction score
288
Location
dc
Yes unfortunately it's not as universally applicable as I wish it was, but the theme of the write up still sheds light once again on a topic that does need to be reinforced often. Thanks for the post!
I agree, thank you for taking the time to put it together as even the results of those two vendor's photos was interesting to review via the tool.
 

braaap

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jul 16, 2015
Messages
347
Reaction score
62
Thanks for posting this Adam. I can't help but wonder if maybe your original idea of a post would have been better though.

I think part of the problem is that nobody ever calls these vendors out by naming them. Wonder why that is ?
Probably because everyone is afraid to offend someone. I'll call them out. Jason Fox. Sexy Corals. Reef Raft. The Candy Shop AKA Stansberry. Reef Gardner. WCC. "Legendary" Corals. All of them HEAVILY edit their pictures. And the "Walt Disney" looks NOTHING like the pictures in real life. I've seen 2 different pieces in 2 different tank and they don't even come close.
 

Sabellafella

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Jul 8, 2015
Messages
6,591
Reaction score
9,129
Screenshot_2016-03-23-23-36-04.png
Probably because everyone is afraid to offend someone. I'll call them out. Jason Fox. Sexy Corals. Reef Raft. The Candy Shop AKA Stansberry. Reef Gardner. WCC. "Legendary" Corals. All of them HEAVILY edit their pictures. And the "Walt Disney" looks NOTHING like the pictures in real life. I've seen 2 different pieces in 2 different tank and they don't even come close.
Ive seen about 7 different full blow colonys and ALL OF THEM looked completely different. One thing they didnt have incommon were the bright blue tips, I never speak about editing photos, but none of them look like mother.
 

TheHarold

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Oct 3, 2015
Messages
2,981
Reaction score
4,355
Probably because everyone is afraid to offend someone. I'll call them out. Jason Fox. Sexy Corals. Reef Raft. The Candy Shop AKA Stansberry. Reef Gardner. WCC. "Legendary" Corals. All of them HEAVILY edit their pictures. And the "Walt Disney" looks NOTHING like the pictures in real life. I've seen 2 different pieces in 2 different tank and they don't even come close.
<3 Yep!
 

timkenagy

~Unashamed 116~
View Badges
Joined
Feb 18, 2010
Messages
633
Reaction score
448
Location
Morton Illinois
Hi Alexey! No it's great man appreciate the post. And good point. I mean my pics all are edited as well so I would expect the same kind of scrutiny i have expressed that you show others. Just as Jason stated above, post processing is essential for accurate replication. Especially if you shoot in RAW which I do. Would be happy to take you through the entire process of how I edited that exact pic if you like.

The adjustments I made were done to correct any light and color issues that the RAW image picked up witch looked like the pic below. Obviously not how I saw them in person. The beauty of shooting in RAW is that it allows me to replicate, to the best of my abilities how they do look in person. I'd like to invite the buyer of this pack to chime in if he feels like it, and let me know how i did on the pic as well.


That's what I look for! What is this coral going to look to me when I get it? Even when one snaps a pic with an iPhone... With no filter of adjustment of lights it's difficult without some editing. And I don't even mind polishing it up a bit.. But compare the average hobbiests photos of (just for example purposes) the WWC jellybean.. It's way more attractive on the vendors site than any hobbyists pics I've seen. Btw im not saying they enhance colors.. What I am saying is I have a feeling I'd be disappointed with my $500 frag. But look at your reputation Adam. That's what honesty gets you. ;) (any word on my shipment yet? :p)
 

timkenagy

~Unashamed 116~
View Badges
Joined
Feb 18, 2010
Messages
633
Reaction score
448
Location
Morton Illinois
And not to pick on WWC because they're not alone. But one of the things I would often use as a judge for color enhancement is the eggcrate in the background. A lot can be said about the image based on the color of it. (It's also a good reference for size) but now WWC is completely blacking that out of the image all together...
 

Breadman03

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Jun 30, 2015
Messages
1,657
Reaction score
1,473
Location
Luzerne County, PA
Here is an example of my editing process to show that just because it was edited doesn't mean it was done to fool you. These photos were all taken under T5, LED combo (5 blue plus, 1 coral plus, 2 aqua blue special) and 2 reefbrite blues. All bulbs on.

Here's straight off the camera (I used a Nikon which does not have good custom white balance, so it looked like this first). The white balance on the camera was set to "auto" because I knew it didn't matter since I'd be adjusting it in LR anyway (the camera chose a setting of 7300K for what its worth)


Here's after photoshop. My goal was to make it look like it does in real life. And this is my interpretation of what it looks like in real life. There was a lot of work needed. The white balance was adjusted to 18,000K. The hue was adjusted to more of a red tone because the image was too blue (my T5's have a more warm cast to them in real life). The image was over exposed so I turned the exposure down by about 1 stop. I also decreased the highlights so you could see more of the detail in the brighter portions of the photo. I increased the vibrancy bar and saturation bars slightly because the photo looked duller than real life. Then I sharpened it and transferred it to photoshop. There I used a filter to adjust the contrast. I think that was about it. One way I can tell if the picture is natural or not is to look at the color of the live rock (when visible). If you look at the bottom left corner of the picture you can see the coralline algae, grey rock, and other colors that we would expect to see when looking at live rock under day lights. It looks very natural to my eyes and that's how I know I made an accurate photo. Now, with this being said there are tricks to get around this (such as using masks so you only apply certain edits to certain areas of the photo), but this is usually easy to spot too.


As another example, here's what it looks like with more unnatural edits. This time I used the same edits as above, but cranked them up to unnatural levels to show you what is possible. Obviously this photo looks more colorful, but clearly its not right. It looks like a neon poster under a black light.
I'll give you $50 for the one in the middle, but $150 for the ones in the bottom picture. ;)
 

timkenagy

~Unashamed 116~
View Badges
Joined
Feb 18, 2010
Messages
633
Reaction score
448
Location
Morton Illinois
I'll give you $50 for the one in the middle, but $150 for the ones in the bottom picture. ;)

For $20 I'll sell you a digital copy of this photo of the coral and you'll get entered in a 1 in a gazillion chance to win the actual coral. (will draw a name as soon as I've sold a gazillion "digital photos")
 

timkenagy

~Unashamed 116~
View Badges
Joined
Feb 18, 2010
Messages
633
Reaction score
448
Location
Morton Illinois
Screenshot_2016-03-23-23-36-04.png

Ive seen about 7 different full blow colonys and ALL OF THEM looked completely different. One thing they didnt have incommon were the bright blue tips, I never speak about editing photos, but none of them look like mother.
That's pretty washed out for a WD. The photos online are enhanced but I've seen ones in person that look way better then this. Did you just get it? Shock from shipping perhaps? So many variables that will determine the future of a colony.. What lights, flow, water quality.. A great example is the red planet. You can place a frag of that in a few different lighted areas and it will appear as different corals in the same tank.
 

gdemos

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Mar 19, 2013
Messages
323
Reaction score
63
Location
RI
Sometimes the frag plugs are just as pretty as the coral.
 

Is Reefing the ONLY option for you?

  • Reefing or nothing!

    Votes: 43 59.7%
  • I would consider freshwater.

    Votes: 24 33.3%
  • Not sure...

    Votes: 5 6.9%

Online statistics

Members online
1,688
Guests online
4,077
Total visitors
5,765
MAXSPECT
Underwatergardeners
Top