I am trying to take a photo with precise colors. I am not sure what am I missing so I could get similar colors.

Here is the result that I would like to achieve:

Original Photo](![http://www.flickr.com/photos/94098092@N07/12489634923/)

This is the photo that I took:


I am using a Canon 40D. EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Have you tried to change the White Balance? \$\endgroup\$
    – user26026
    Commented Feb 13, 2014 at 1:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hello and welcome to Photo.SE The desired photo has a different white balance (it's "cooler") and is less overexposed (you can see the difference in the very bright lights). I'm not sure what software package (Photoshop, Gimp, Lightroom) you have. Once that is known it's easier to explain what steps should be taken to achieve the desired look. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 13, 2014 at 1:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ I have photoshop, and photomatix. I also have Lightroom. I can take multiple exposures, but I am not able to get such a white exposure. \$\endgroup\$
    – rtfact
    Commented Feb 13, 2014 at 1:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ Do you shoot raw or jpeg? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 13, 2014 at 18:26

3 Answers 3


The image you took the first time looks like it was shot with auto white balance and the same lighting type in all of the lights in your room. Well that's different in your new scene. The lighting on the stairway is a different color temp, so skip the white balance, and just fix it in photoshop camera raw filter by desaturating yellows and reds and adjusting hue in yellows and of course a white balance change.

enter image description here

In reality, this is a bandaid fix at best because the difference in lighting will still be seen. Notice the lights in the scene your trying to match, especially the light on the right and the wall sconces. The second shot has blown out lights and shows that the first photographer had a lot more light to work with. Weather that's portable flash or sunlight is anybody's guess, but that's the missing link. Get enough light on this scene and you will carry the detail and have a better chance to match the color.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I know that in the first photo, the photographer used HDR. I will try to change the white balance, take multiple exposures and combine them with photomatix HDR. I'll upload the result. \$\endgroup\$
    – rtfact
    Commented Feb 13, 2014 at 3:13
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @rtfact HDR has nothing to do with it. \$\endgroup\$
    – jwenting
    Commented Feb 13, 2014 at 13:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @jwenting HDR will help the highlight detail if the underexposure is enough. Certainly color balance is an issue though. So it is possible to reproduce the image "details" correctly with HDR. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 13, 2014 at 15:06

Several things at work here:

  • white balance. As others have said, you selected the wrong white balance
  • lighting. You went with natural/environmental light only. The other photo is clearly taken using a lot of controlled lighting. Flash, umbrellas, hidden spot lights in the stairwells maybe.
  • shutter speed. Your light fixtures are overexposed because you used a long shutter time to compensate for overall low light using your metering mode. The added flash from the other picture makes for shorter shutter speeds, thus less blown out light fixtures (and more controlled white balance as he could control the colour of his environmental light much better).

As well as white balance (which if shot in raw can easily be altered afterwards, I'd suggest maybe doing this as an HDR. Not one of those OTT hyper reality HDR's but you can also make them quite realistic. This would help result in an image which didn't blow out in the same way yours did as the 'darker' image would be used for the brighter parts, and conversely the lighter image used for darker parts...


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