I cropped the image to show the interesting part, it's ok it's not in focus.

I realized that the yellow colour is more saturated in reality than in the photograph. I'm not sure why that is.

Example picture

Example, yellow colour looks less saturated than in reality

Is that "normal"? What can one do to correct this? Any help is appreciated.

I calibrated the white balance, not sure if that is related to this issue though.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I would have uploaded the image directly but the Android app doesn't work correctly. So I had to use an URL. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ely
    Commented Jun 13, 2019 at 7:11

1 Answer 1


The sign is illuminated with a backlight which is seen through the yellow coloured plastic or other translucent material as yellow.

The problem is that the light is too bright for your exposure setting, and all R/G/B channels have possibly even clipped. When all the channels are near maximum value, the result is white as you can see in the example image if you look closely. This is what causes the unsaturated look. Human eyes have a wider dynamic range than camera sensors, so it looks normal to us.

You can lower your exposure by lowering ISO, or by choosing a smaller aperture or shorter shutter speed. This will unfortunately probably cause the rest of the scene to be underexposed. You can also take two photos and merge their exposures (or use a HDR mode if you camera supports one directly).

If you shoot raw, check if the values are all clipped in the raw sensor data too. If not, you might be able to make it look better by tweaking exposure settings in post processing.

In my opinion though, it looks fine to me and I would probably leave it like that.

Related link if you want to learn more about dynamic range: https://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/dynamic-range.htm

  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, color channels are most likely clipped. This can easily happen when shooting objects that omit light. Pure yellow would be red + green with no blue. But if red and green are clipped (overexposed), the blue is also overexposed and you have more blue than you want. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mattman944
    Commented Jun 13, 2019 at 12:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ Indeed mattman, shooting object that omit light is a very difficult thing indeed. \$\endgroup\$
    – OnBreak.
    Commented Jun 13, 2019 at 16:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ Emit, not omit. Big difference ;) \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Jun 14, 2019 at 11:30

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