How do you make colours pop, I was asked today?

(Fuji X100, 1/50 sec, f/2.0, ISO 1600, Velvia film simulation)

This  picture shows one of the ways: in the past it would have been “choose the right film”; today it is “choose the right film simulation”. You can do this in post-processing, or even in the camera if you shoot JPGs. The shot above simulates Velvia film. Velvia was famous for being beautiful and saturated.

Then, be lucky, patient, or clever, and choose the right light. Like this beautiful late, late afternoon Golden Hour light on a “mainly overcast” day:

If it has been fully overcast that would have been OK too: overcast is generally better than “sunny” for saturated colours, by the way. Direct sunlight kills colours.

Next, make sure you get your white balance right. Like here, where I used custom white balance:

Cat Chilling

And, essentially, do not overexpose. Expose less and colours will pop. If necessary, use a flash to light up the foreground as you saturate the ambient light by slightly underexposing it.

And finally, you can do some more saturation in Lightroom… but that is a last step, that you should use judiciously, and if you do, do not go overboard.


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