• For a Limited Time the R2R Partner Membership is NOW OPEN! Get some cool swag and chances to win part of over $20,000 in prizes! Click here for more details

Photoshop: when is enough enough

oceans garden aquaculture

Oceans garden aquaculture
View Badges
Joined
Mar 9, 2020
Messages
508
Reaction score
576
Not sure anything can irritate one more than misrepresentation of anything in life.

These coral photos that circulate the web of corals you know dont really look like that are beyond frustrating.

Was at an lfs the other day and he should em me some wholesale corals from a coral place I will leave unnamed.

On the frag plug a zoa was on, was a snail. Not just any snail, a completely “gold” snail.
The picture was shopped so hard and careless they didnt realize they turned a turbo snail gold.

Why can’t we just sell things as is,
Not pose them as something they are not?
Using color filters I think is ok, even necessary to an extent to capture realistic pics through blue light. I don't see much difference between a digital or analog gel filter. Actually photoshopping a photo especially for sales is kinda trash though imo. My 2 cents. Great post.
 

Joe462

Member
View Badges
Joined
Mar 28, 2017
Messages
27
Reaction score
30
Lets all try to keep in mind that capturing accurate pictures is difficult. Some sellers/vendors definitely take it too far but its usually not that hard to tell unless they are very skilled. i personally am never going to buy a coral that is represented by a crappy picture, if its all blue and i can't see the colors or badly focused. so some sort of white balance correction or filter is usually necessary. Some people definitely have legit gripes about enhanced or unrealistic photos and getting scammed but their are also many others that are just hating because the coral doesn't look that nice in their aquarium for a multitude of reasons.

also keep in mind that not everyone even runs white lights anymore, so they may not be able to give you a "white light" picture. or they might have to reset/reprogram their lights to do so, so if its not a big sale they will probably not bother. especially when you go to all the effort to change your lighting schedule and take a bunch of "white light" photos, and they still don't buy anything.

the pictures below are a good example of the difficulty of taking representative pictures. They were taken with a cannon T3i, under the same lighting (radion ab+ program, with supplemental blue bar LEDs), within a few minutes of each other, using custom white balances on the camera. The one in the middle is almost spot on, but not perfect, to what i see when i view the coral. I still had to actually use a auto white balance correction in corel paintshop, even using the custom white balance on the camera. I had to take several photos and reset the custom white balance several times to get there.
vconfettiwb.jpg
vconfettiauto.jpg
vconfetti.jpg
 
Last edited:

Palegic

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jul 20, 2020
Messages
124
Reaction score
114
Location
Long Island
Honestly just using a decent camera with a CPL filter and Macro lens produces insane results that might make someone believe it was altered. The idea is to flush out much of the blue. I think Cannon has a much wider range (15k? as opposed to Nikons 10k?) of WB color adjustment within the camera. Even my Galaxy Note10 can take some really nice photos in pro mode without any post production editing. Add a CPL filter to minimize glare and your golden.

Also, the majority of everyone here obviously knows this but to those who may not, corals have a high quantity of fluorescent pigment which helps protect them from UV damage. Florescence will look wildly different under different lighting. Which anyone has ever bought a serious diamond before, knows fluorescence is a quality that is typically not preferred in a high quality stone. Reason being its color, vibrance, etc..will look much different under different types of light based on the amount of fluorescence in the stone.

Just because you buy a coral, and it doesn't look the same in your tank as it did in the photo. Realize, A - is not able to replicate exactly what the human eye sees. B - Lighting setups vary tremendously in this hobby and even small changes in a setup can have a dramatic difference in how a coral is viewed.
 
Last edited:

Trey

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Aug 19, 2009
Messages
185
Reaction score
97
Location
Brunswick, Ohio
Honestly just using a decent camera with a CPL filter and Macro lens produces insane results that might make someone believe it was altered. The idea is to flush out much of the blue. I think Cannon has a much wider range (15k? as opposed to Nikons 10k?) of WB color adjustment within the camera. Even my Galaxy Note10 can take some really nice photos in pro mode without any post production editing. Add a CPL filter to minimize glare and your golden.
I still feel shooting in RAW and post will provide the most realistic result possible.
I’m just guessing based on general experience. I have no experience shooting a reef personally.
 

pdxmonkeyboy

Sticks!! Give me the sticks!
View Badges
Joined
Mar 7, 2017
Messages
2,487
Reaction score
4,078
Location
Hockinson, WA
An experienced reefer told me once... when you buy corals online you are basically buying the picture.

This is why i rarely buy corals online. That, and when you do buy some your inbox explodes with marketing spam from them.

I recently emailed ASD with the question "do you think that if i get an email every day from you guys that after a week i even look at any of them?"

I have seen online vendors with blue and 20k pictures of the same frag. Seems like a good way to do things.
 

Zionas

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Mar 6, 2020
Messages
1,969
Reaction score
805
Location
Winnieland (AKA “People’s” Republic of China)
If Photoshop and PS-like programs can make a woman who looks 4/10 turn into a woman who’s 8/10 looks wise, I’m not all that surprised it has other applications. I do agree though, it’s a very crappy practice. People these days will do anything to make more bucks. Such is the sad and undesirable state of our world. Lies, danged lies.
 

Joe462

Member
View Badges
Joined
Mar 28, 2017
Messages
27
Reaction score
30
i Guess the solution for those that are really worried about this issue is to buy your coral in person, at a local store or swap. It is the only way you will know for sure that the coral is accurately represented. Or only shop at the online vendors that you like the way they present the images. But you just can't expect everyone to do things the way you want them to.

Some people may be trying to scam you by mis representing the coral and some just run a crazy amount of blue and uv, and the pictures are accurate but they aren't going to look that way for you unless you do the same thing. So be thoughtful about where you spend your dollars and and support the businesses you like and trust.
 

robbyg

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Sep 8, 2019
Messages
1,763
Reaction score
2,033
Lets all try to keep in mind that capturing accurate pictures is difficult. Some sellers/vendors definitely take it too far but its usually not that hard to tell unless they are very skilled. i personally am never going to buy a coral that is represented by a crappy picture, if its all blue and i can't see the colors or badly focused. so some sort of white balance correction or filter is usually necessary. Some people definitely have legit gripes about enhanced or unrealistic photos and getting scammed but their are also many others that are just hating because the coral doesn't look that nice in their aquarium for a multitude of reasons.

also keep in mind that not everyone even runs white lights anymore, so they may not be able to give you a "white light" picture. or they might have to reset/reprogram their lights to do so, so if its not a big sale they will probably not bother. especially when you go to all the effort to change your lighting schedule and take a bunch of "white light" photos, and they still don't buy anything.

the pictures below are a good example of the difficulty of taking representative pictures. They were taken with a cannon T3i, under the same lighting (radion ab+ program, with supplemental blue bar LEDs), within a few minutes of each other, using custom white balances on the camera. The one in the middle is almost spot on, but not perfect, to what i see when i view the coral. I still had to actually use a auto white balance correction in corel paintshop, even using the custom white balance on the camera. I had to take several photos and reset the custom white balance several times to get there.
vconfettiwb.jpg
vconfettiauto.jpg
vconfetti.jpg
It's actually very easy not hard. You know when you go to a photo store and they sit you down in the seat with those white curtains going around and the preset remote diffused lights? Yeah a Photo set!

That is how most of these guys do it. Thay have a small tank with everything setup for taking the pictures, they just move the all frags into it. They already have the lights set right and the camera dialed in. All they have to do is nudge the focus and they shoot a photo. Lightroom or Photoshop handles the rest.
 

Joe462

Member
View Badges
Joined
Mar 28, 2017
Messages
27
Reaction score
30
It's actually very easy not hard. You know when you go to a photo store and they sit you down in the seat with those white curtains going around and the preset remote diffused lights? Yeah a Photo set!

That is how most of these guys do it. Thay have a small tank with everything setup for taking the pictures, they just move the all frags into it. They already have the lights set right and the camera dialed in. All they have to do is nudge the focus and they shoot a photo. Lightroom or Photoshop handles the rest.
They still have to set up that photo tank, put the coral in the tank set up for photography, wait till the coral settle in and get polyp extension, program the automation that lightroom or photoshop handle, dial in the camera at some point, and i would be willing to bet the ones that go to this much trouble take 5 or so photos of each coral, because they just don't always turn out as well as you thought they would. yeah, that sounds easy as pie

the reality is that most places don't have a dedicated tank set up for photography and its not that easy or everyone would have amazing pictures. and its nothing like taking a picture of humans under normal lighting conditions...........
 

robbyg

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Sep 8, 2019
Messages
1,763
Reaction score
2,033
They still have to set up that photo tank, put the coral in the tank set up for photography, wait till the coral settle in and get polyp extension, program the automation that lightroom or photoshop handle, dial in the camera at some point, and i would be willing to bet the ones that go to this much trouble take 5 or so photos of each coral, because they just don't always turn out as well as you thought they would. yeah, that sounds easy as pie

the reality is that most places don't have a dedicated tank set up for photography and its not that easy or everyone would have amazing pictures. and its nothing like taking a picture of humans under normal lighting conditions...........
If your business is selling corals then you should at least invest in a shallow tank that you can use for photo shoots. It's a lot cheaper than the DSLR, Macro Lenses and other equipment your going to have to buy.
 

JCTReefer

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Feb 1, 2018
Messages
605
Reaction score
752
I bought a 'yellow' hammer from them. It's one of the nicest green hammers I have ever seen, but under halides, t5, or led it is nowhere near any color you might call yellow. Live and learn, and never again.
I purchase a “margarita hammer“ from them 2-3 years ago. At least that’s what they called it. It’s a beautiful yellowish green. It is my favorite coral in the tank!!! Usually their pictures are pretty spot on. The orange hammer was the only purchase I’ve ever had an issue with aesthetically. I think I have given up on finding a true orange hammer though. Euphyllia are my favs!!! Here’s a pic of the Yellowish hammer I’m talking about!
D7584F85-121F-4FC5-9086-1C62A64BF253.jpeg
6A8E32FA-AAA9-4430-99ED-84152400778E.jpeg
 

rogersb

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Feb 15, 2011
Messages
478
Reaction score
324
Location
white haven
I purchase a “margarita hammer“ from them 2-3 years ago. At least that’s what they called it. It’s a beautiful yellowish green. It is my favorite coral in the tank!!! Usually their pictures are pretty spot on. The orange hammer was the only purchase I’ve ever had an issue with aesthetically. I think I have given up on finding a true orange hammer though. Euphyllia are my favs!!! Here’s a pic of the Yellowish hammer I’m talking about!
D7584F85-121F-4FC5-9086-1C62A64BF253.jpeg
6A8E32FA-AAA9-4430-99ED-84152400778E.jpeg
When i bought mine they called it margarita yellow hammer. Top right in pic. They must have dropped the yellow from the name at some point.
20200808_162032.jpg
 

Drendo

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Nov 10, 2019
Messages
250
Reaction score
261
Often you will hear people say that they don’t use photoshop, which is true in most cases. However, long exposure shots are the parlor tricks that many play. This brings out all the vibrant colors.
 

drblakjak55

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Aug 9, 2017
Messages
358
Reaction score
289
Location
Stamford, CT
I have to call this “last straw”. So rarely are on line pictures even close by reputable dealers. Fool me once your fault. Fool me another forty times is my fault
E3F9109B-DCE5-4EF7-907F-A6F8DA0937F8.jpeg
9347E1D7-956E-4F0F-A0B8-07BDE15DBC34.jpeg
 

thought

Member
View Badges
Joined
Feb 5, 2020
Messages
14
Reaction score
9
I recently bought an “electric” ricordea florida online, I usually stick to my LFS. While buying it I figured that the photo’s saturation was bumped up a little and the color would probably be a little different. It enticed me enough to purchase and I was curious to see what it looked like in real life, figured it would be relatively nice and semi-close to the photo. This is the advertised photo:

628CF075-E1CF-40DB-9181-883D3F691B2F.jpeg


This is what it looks like in my tank under 3 different settings: all blues/violet, blended white/blue, pure white:

BDE17A25-FB2E-45D0-94C9-E12B30C33501.jpeg


Doesn’t seem very “electric” no matter what settings I choose... even under all blue/violet there is hardly any fluorescent color besides the mouth - so pretty disappointed it wasn’t at least more neon in some areas. Sent a note to the seller about the difference, eventually got a refund minus the shipping cost and dodging sales tactics.

Anyway, this experience inspired me to take the advertised photo and try to “De-Filter” it to see if I could reach similar colors that I can see in my tank. Hopefully this could help me to make better decisions around color approximations for online purchase. It worked surprisingly well:

B7BF9038-DCBF-4F2B-B9CC-AD593D01A50A.jpeg


Few easy steps on my phone, basically just took a screenshot of the advertised photo, brought it into Instagram, then took these steps to de-filter it and approximate true color.

Major adjustments:
  • Saturation down to -60
  • Brightness down to -35
Smaller adjustments:
  • Highlights down to -30
  • Shadows down to -30
Now this isnt an exact match obviously and of course different sellers are going to use different filters and settings on their photos so these steps won’t work for all pumped up advertising photos. However, I think going forward I will desaturate advertised photos to at least get an idea of real colors.

Wondering about further steps for de-filtering exaggerated colors on coral photos before purchasing?
 

slewrock1

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Jul 29, 2018
Messages
625
Reaction score
869
Not sure anything can irritate one more than misrepresentation of anything in life.

These coral photos that circulate the web of corals you know dont really look like that are beyond frustrating.

Was at an lfs the other day and he should em me some wholesale corals from a coral place I will leave unnamed.
n the frag plug a zoa was on, was a snail. Not just any snail, a completely “gold” snail.
The picture was shopped so hard and careless they didnt realize they turned a turbo snail gold.

Why can’t we just sell things as is,
Not pose them as something they are not?
This isn't a new concept. For ex: women wear push up bras, make up, and high heels to distort the perception of them as is. Demand is driven by the perception of scarcity. Vendors photoshop frags bc it boosts sales.



 
Last edited:

Have you ever had an aquarium heater issue before?

  • Yes, heater exploded

    Votes: 8 20.0%
  • Yes, heater "stuck" on

    Votes: 6 15.0%
  • Yes, heater wasn't big enough

    Votes: 5 12.5%
  • Yes, heater just stopped working

    Votes: 13 32.5%
  • NO

    Votes: 17 42.5%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 0 0.0%

Online statistics

Members online
1,814
Guests online
3,598
Total visitors
5,412
Top