Boost the colours of autum

Autumn is a time of subtle shades and colours, especially as green leaves turn to red, yellow and brown before they fall. But sometimes subtle is not what you want. Here are some ideas to help boost the vibrancy of colours in your images.

Autumn in Moesgård Forest, © Dorota Ratman 2011, Canon EOS 50D

  • Many compact cameras offer a ‘Vivid’ setting in the My Colors menu which boosts colour saturation. For a stronger effect you can also use the Super Vivid mode from the Creative Filters mode. If you are using an EOS camera, modify a Picture Style by increasing the value of its saturation parameter (see ‘Customising the Picture Style’ in your camera instruction manual).
  • Use a polarising filter on the lens. When rotated the filter darkens blue skies. It also brightens the colours of leaves and other non-metallic subjects by eliminating reflections.
  • When photographing a building, look around to see if there is a colourful subject that will add foreground interest – plants and flowers can be effective. Shoot from a low viewpoint and use a wide focal length to give emphasis. A focal length between about 10mm and 35mm (on a zoom or non-zoom lens) will give the required effect.
  • Use built-in flash as a ‘fill’ light in daylight. The extra light will help to boost the colours of some subjects. Most of the time, you can just activate the flashgun and leave the camera to balance the flash illumination with the daylight.
  • Use Canon’s Digital Photo Professional software (free on the CD supplied with EOS and some Canon compact cameras). If you shoot RAW files you will be able to change many of the image settings, including white balance, Picture Style, brightness, contrast, sharpness, colour tone and colour saturation. There are fewer options if you shoot JPEG files, but you can still adjust brightness, contrast, hue, saturation and sharpness.
  • When printing images, use a glossy paper. This will maintain the vibrant, saturated colours you see on your computer screen. Canon PT-101 Photo Paper Pro Platinum is excellent (check that the 300gsm weight is compatible with your printer); PP-201 Photo Paper Plus Glossy II is a good alternative.

Upload your colourful photos to the Gallery 
Finally, select your best images and upload them to the You Connect Gallery. Next month one of your images could be shown, or it could be used to illustrate future articles like this.