My outdoor shots seem quite dull. Why is that?

by Pallavi
(Rochester, Minnesota, US)



I've shot the picture that is attached, in P mode on a clear, sunny day at about 7 pm. Somehow, the greens look dull and the sky looks way too bright. How do I get my green colors to look more green and the sky to look more blue. I've read that a polarizer will do the trick, but I'm confused about the difference between a linear and circular polarizer. Which of these is better for the 450D? Also, do I need a different size filter for both my lenses? (I have the 18-55mm and the 50mm 1.8 II) Or if I do choose to buy it for just one, which lens should that be and what size do I get?

Would the polarizer solve my problem or am I just shooting in the wrong mode? I'm a beginner and this is my first SLR. The image was shot with the Canon 50mm 1.8 II lens. I got the same dull look with the 18-55mm lens as well.

Comments for My outdoor shots seem quite dull. Why is that?

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Aug 03, 2009
Dynamic Range
by: Digital SLR Guide

The first issue that you are running into is the limited dynamic range of the digital SLR camera - this is not something specific to the 450D, it's an issue with every digital SLR.

When the contrast in the scene exceeds what the camera is capable of capturing, one of two things happens: either the shadows turn very dark or the highlights become very bright.

In this case, the reason that the sky doesn't appear blue is because it's too bright relative to the dark tree - since the camera wants to preserve detail in the tree, the color of the sky is washed out.

Unfortunately, there is no camera setting that will help in this situation - really the only options are to wait until the sun goes down completely (which reduces contrast) or take pictures on half cloudy or overcast days.

The second issue - the flatness of the color - may have something to do with the Picture Style you have selected.

Canon cameras allow you to alter how color is captured by the sensor by changing a setting called a Picture Style.

If you have the "Standard" or "Neutral" Picture Style selected, this can explain why the colors in your photo look dull.

Try selecting the "Portrait" or "Landscape" Picture Styles instead to see if this helps saturate colors more.

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