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Pro photographers and colour grading
Old 10-28-2018   #1
Captain Kidd
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Pro photographers and colour grading

I read an interview with harry gruyaert today and he mentioned how you can do so much with color photography and I wondered if maybe he meant in post production. Ive seen lightroom tutorials where images after post production look incredibly more dramatic than before, sometimes completely different. Some examples are subtle others over the top. Im basically wondering how much drama is added in post production by the likes of Alex Webb and harry gruyaert, both known for their intense colour photography. Also how much was even possible in the 80s?

Any thoughts on how much they may work on their images in post production?

Thanks for any thoughts
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Old 10-28-2018   #2
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In the past, films were sold that each had a different character. Some had lower, more natural color saturation. Kodak Vericolor III, a color neg film made for portraiture, is an example. Fuji NPS and AGFA Portrait 160 were others. Then there were normal saturation films (most color neg and slide films) and high saturation films, like Fuji Velvia and Kodak E100VS (both E-6 films) and AGFA Ultra 50 (negative). So you chose film based on the look you wanted. There were also different color printing papers available at different saturation levels.

Today, with digital, you make that choice in post processing, and there is certainly more freedom than with film to embellish.
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Old 10-28-2018   #3
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Just off the top of my head, I remember a photographer back in the 1980s (Pete Turner?), who was known for eye-popping color. As I recall, he used to shoot a Kodachrome original, duplicate it onto Kodachrome, and possibly duplicate the duplicate, in order to build contrast and saturation.

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Old 10-28-2018   #4
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Yes, color control by film choice. For example, Velvia.
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Old 10-29-2018   #5
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Thanks everyone, I was thinking there were limited ways with film to manipulate results.
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Old 10-29-2018   #6
lynnb
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Different printing processes also influenced colour - e.g. Cibachrome
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Old 10-29-2018   #7
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Can you link the interview, please?
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Old 10-29-2018   #8
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Alex Webb did Kodachrome slide film, which has dramatic color and contrast. I don't think he necessarily changed the color, but he may have dialed up contrast in printing. (Other people working in Kodachrome had lower contrast prints, but there were different Kodachromes, they changed significantly through their history, and they looked different projected directly and printed with different technologies, e.g. Cibachrome.) I am pretty sure Joel Meyerowitz (who also did Kodachrome) modified color all the time - you can see the same image of his appearing in very different color schemes in image searches.
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Old 11-01-2018   #9
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This is a very interesting interview with harry gruyaert, he mentions how he would underexpose Kodachrome by 2 stops usually, needing a very good scanner as a result.

https://vimeo.com/242072467
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Old 11-01-2018   #10
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A couple of you mentioned Cibachrome. William Eggleston used Kodachromes and printed with a method called dye transfer. Maybe that is similar to Cibachrome, it did add a little snap.
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Old 11-01-2018   #11
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In the 80's, people were shooting colour negative or colour slide films, and had access to a wonderful range of options for printing it in the darkroom. Digital can only mimic the films that we had then. That was a time when you could get some great stuff from Agfa that has never been seen since. Sure, you can play around in software and get similar effects today, but only similar. If you want the best colour now, go w/ Porta, Ektar, and the like for negative film, and Velvia for transparencies.
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Old 11-01-2018   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Kidd View Post
This is a very interesting interview with harry gruyaert, he mentions how he would under expose Kodachrome by 2 stops usually, needing a very good scanner as a result.

https://vimeo.com/242072467
thanks for the post. porvia recommends using 1/250th shutter in the exposure guide inside the box.
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Old 11-01-2018   #13
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In the 1980’s there was no where near the tools to use with photography as compared to now. Some have been already mentioned, film type and exposure are two. But, important then as now are three basics, posing, lighting and composition.

In the 1980’s and earlier many used a Polaroid back on a camera like Hasselblad to get those three basics down. After adjustments, then the film back was put on and used. Of course, some didn’t take the time to do this and was reflected with their photographs.

With digital that’s all changed and, to me, for the better. However, the basics still apply today. I don’t believe the process stage (the computer and software like Photoshop) should be used to correct mistakes made during the making of the image stage. The process stage should be where creativity is applied to the images.
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Old 11-01-2018   #14
mod2001
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Quote:
Originally Posted by olifaunt View Post
I am pretty sure Joel Meyerowitz (who also did Kodachrome) modified color all the time - you can see the same image of his appearing in very different color schemes in image searches.
sure, like Da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa hundred of times with different colors according to your logic based on different color schemes in image searches:

https://www.google.com/search?safe=o....0.A2dxwqKbh6k

Coming back to JM, I'm pretty sure not, or do you really think he changes his mind (and has the time) to process the same photos over and over again in a different way? The differences you see are mainly based on different scans/photos from publications (books, magazines and so on), photos taken from exhibition prints, in worst case screenshots from photos in the internet. And that's not only valid for his images. If you want to see the real intention of the photographer in regards to the final result you have to visit exhibitions or buy books where he was involved in the print making. And be assured, there are huge differences to the stuff you see in the image search in Google.

In short, judging or comparing the color or even b/w of photos in the internet without any reference is absolutely useless. What you see are simply hundreds or even thousands of replications of replications of replications...well, I think you get the idea. Just an example of Eggleston (also Kodachrome) and what can happen with the same photo without any involvement of the artist:

https://www.google.com/search?q=eggl...&bih=959&dpr=1

or JM as you mentioned him, take a look just at the first 3 photos, do you really think this drastic changes would find his approval or were even done by himself?

https://www.google.com/search?q=Joel...&bih=959&dpr=1

Juergen
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Old 11-02-2018   #15
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And, in the good old days when we had a wide choice of negative and slide film, some films were best for portrait and others best for landscapes and so on.

There used to be software that imitated all the old film types but - obviously - starting with a photo from a digital. I can't remember what the software was but it was free and is probably still out there...

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Old 11-05-2018   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mod2001 View Post
sure, like Da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa hundred of times with different colors according to your logic based on different color schemes in image searches:

https://www.google.com/search?safe=o....0.A2dxwqKbh6k

Coming back to JM, I'm pretty sure not, or do you really think he changes his mind (and has the time) to process the same photos over and over again in a different way? The differences you see are mainly based on different scans/photos from publications (books, magazines and so on), photos taken from exhibition prints, in worst case screenshots from photos in the internet. And that's not only valid for his images. If you want to see the real intention of the photographer in regards to the final result you have to visit exhibitions or buy books where he was involved in the print making. And be assured, there are huge differences to the stuff you see in the image search in Google.

In short, judging or comparing the color or even b/w of photos in the internet without any reference is absolutely useless. What you see are simply hundreds or even thousands of replications of replications of replications...well, I think you get the idea. Just an example of Eggleston (also Kodachrome) and what can happen with the same photo without any involvement of the artist:

https://www.google.com/search?q=eggl...&bih=959&dpr=1

or JM as you mentioned him, take a look just at the first 3 photos, do you really think this drastic changes would find his approval or were even done by himself?

https://www.google.com/search?q=Joel...&bih=959&dpr=1

Juergen
Well, you are right about infidelity of internet reproductions, but unlike the Mona Lisa, photographs are reprinted too. I've seen prints looking different in different (official) books. Or a photographer can make different decisions between two different gallery prints, especially with film, which is not as exactly reproducible as digital. It happens all the time, I would think.
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Old 11-05-2018   #17
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Originally Posted by olifaunt View Post
Well, you are right about infidelity of internet reproductions,
That was my point With the reprints is (sadly) true, one reason I try do avoid to buy them via Internet without having seen the book before except some trusted publishers like Steidl or Mack Books for example.

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Old 11-05-2018   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charjohncarter View Post
A couple of you mentioned Cibachrome. William Eggleston used Kodachromes and printed with a method called dye transfer. Maybe that is similar to Cibachrome, it did add a little snap.
Cibachrome prints had the dye in the paper and the development process removed the dye that you didn't need.

Dye transfer prints had the dyes added to the blank paper one layer/color at a time. Many layers can be added to a dye transfer print to adjust the color, contrast and saturation. They take a reallllllllly long time to make and were expensive. One of the reasons why no one did it. Eggleston was loaded though so he could afford it.
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Old 11-05-2018   #19
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The answer is Kodachrome.

Most of the people cited (Alex Webb, Harry Gruyaert, Joel Meyerwitz) shot Kodachrome, which gave that very intense color that looks so distinctive, particularly today. The saturation of the reds in particular is really amazing. Playing with exposure I'm sure added to that but I'm not sure how much post process manipulation was done. It's worth mentioning that this was actually a narrower dynamic range with the darks being pretty crushed.

Usually with digital color grading, the idea is to shoot with very little contrast and then add the look you want in post production. Video and Film are way ahead of photography in terms of tools to do this with. If you look at some of the tools available in video and film production like scopes and RGB parades and that sort of stuff, it feels much more advanced than something like Photoshop.

I'm pretty surprised that photography tools haven't really incorporated this more when you look at how popular color grading tutorials are on the web and how many steps it often takes to do this.

Capture One actually has some very nice tools for dealing with color manipulation that are more intuitive, to me at least, than Photoshop.
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