Capturing The Color Purple | Ford Explorer - Ford Ranger Forums - Serious Explorations

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Capturing The Color Purple


Staff member
Elite Explorer
June 16, 2003
Reaction score
City, State
Humboldt, KS
Year, Model & Trim Level
2000 Mounty
Why can't I get a good shot of clear purple over a metallic base?

In the sunlight it shines thru, however I cannot capture it with a digital camera.
When I use the flash it reflects only the topcoat color without penetrating.

Using sunlight it barely shows the base, and usually looks blue instead of purple.

The camera is a simple one, but does have a bunch of settings to adjust. Where should I start?


Moderator Emeritus
February 5, 2003
Reaction score
City, State
Germantown, MD
Year, Model & Trim Level
1998 Ford Explorer
First place to start, if your camera has it, is to set the "white balance" so that it matches your environment. Some cameras, usually the DSLR types, have a function which allows you to manually set the white balance by taking a picture of a white piece of paper - which the camera then uses to calibrate the white balance.

Alternatively, you can shoot the picture and change the "color balance" in PhotoShop (or other programs) using a reference in the picture. For mos photographers, this reference usually means putting a "gray card" in the shot:

So with a gray card, after you take the picture, you open it up in PhotoShop and change the color balance so that the gray card is indeed "gray". More info on this Wikipedia page:

Another difficulty you have in your situation is the translucent coat. This will start bending and reflecting other light sources (including light reflecting off of other surfaces). So one way to minimize this is to "wall in" the thing you are taking a shot of so as to block out reflections. You can also, if its possible, put a filter (polarizing?) on the camera.