Way too much alteration of photographs!

I just use a piece of black slate, iPhone 8, and a white led light. Some times I’ll use sunlight instead of the led.


Wow, I love with the black slate does for the yellow. I’m gonna try that with my boa


Is that a Vanilla Cream?
I think they’re so pretty, I want to get one sometime soon.

Sorry to bother you but what morph is the second snake from the right? With the big white spots–that’s amazing!

What is that calico mixed with to get the high white sides?

He already said what it was. I guessed right in an earlier post too.

With two of my biggest hobbies outside of reptiles being photography and monitor (and TV) calibrating this is a topic I’ve put a bit of thought into.

This has been a major issue since the early days of the reptile trade. In fact, I’d say it’s an issue with all photography. If you look at landscape photographs they over emphasize contrast and color to make everything seem more “magical”. If you actually go to these places it looks very little like the extremely doctored photographs. You can take that one step further with social media in general where almost everyone exaggerates their lives. The more flashy and attention grabbing a photo is the more likes and/or sales you will get. With animals where pattern and color intensities are of great importance it is dishonest to make such inaccurate alterations. Don’t get me wrong though, I dont believe all photoshopping/alteration is a bad thing. If the post processing is done with the intention of making the subject appear more accurate to reality then that is great and should be encouraged. While modern photography equipment is generally good with things like automatic white balance and color saturation the same rules apply. Manufacturers often skew cameras to lean towards oversaturation because it makes for more pleasing photographs (ie more likes, more sales, more attention, etc). Iphones in particular are known for this. I wouldn’t make a blanket assumption that someone who does no post processing yields a more accurate photo than someone who does.

I’m currently utilizing a very old DSLR from 2003 (Nikon D50) with fairly high end lenses/flash equipment. My post processing involves white balance (using a neutral grey card, perfects the ratios of red/green/blue), exposure compensation (raises or lowers brightness, minimal usage as it can skew accuracy), cropping, sharpening, and resizing. It seems like a lot but once you get a workflow down each photo only takes 30 seconds or so. Everything is done with the purpose of making the snake as accurate and as clear as possible.

I also think many people aren’t trying to be dishonest, they just don’t know how to process photos for the purpose of accuracy.


Can you explain more about the grey card? It sounds interesting.


I do believe I need to figure out how to add a water mark to my photos (without an e-mail address) do to my ignorance of business cards being offensive. :thinking:

If you do pictures from phone there are a number of apps to add water marks fairly cheap… I use Android and an app simply called water mark paid like $10-15 for full version works great.

Uploading: Photo_1590440829528.jpg…



The white balance card is a neutral grey card. It’s about 3 x 5 inches but they make them in many sizes. I take a photo of it in the lighting scenario I’ll be shooting my subject with for every photo shoot. In post processing (I use a free program called “RawTherapee” currently) I click a spot on that card and the program precisely adjusts the ratios of red/green/blue for a perfect balance. I then save that adjustment and apply it to all future photos I did in that photoshoot.

First I take a photo of the white balance card. Keep in mind I’m working with a 17yr old DSLR camera that doesn’t have the best consistency with white balance so it’s even more useful to perfectly balance each photo.

White balance card pre-calibration:

Post calibration (I just click a clean spot on the card, hard to find after 15+ years of using it):

Here’s how that grey card reading helped optimize white balance with the snake photo. Lighting is a single LED strip in my quarantine closet.

Before post processing it was under exposed with terrible white balance.

After white balance and exposure (brightness) boost. Much closer to reality:


Color enhancing to try and deceive is not ok. I pull all my photos into Lightroom to enlarge them to make sure I didn’t get a bit of dirt or hair on the white background. If there is anything like that I’ll edit that out of it, but the snake itself is not altered. Here’s an example of the raw photo and the edited photo. This snake is NFS so for fun I brightened the photo up a bit, but as you can see, the background is the thing that is being altered by removing a couple little bits of hair/dirt. This was taken before I had a chance to buy more white poster board for my light box.


I drove over 2 hours 2 different times, for snakes that weren’t the color in the picture. One looked more orange but was actually brown. The other looked vibrant yellow, but was actually light brown. I was upset. But since I drove all that way, I paid for the snake and went home. I love them, don’t get my wrong, but was disappointed that they were over exaggerated in the color


Omg those are gorgeous! May have to check you out some time. My kids and I say "there’s no such thing as too many snakes " So we will be looking to get a few more!


I really like this :+1: seems super efficient once you have a system established. I’ve always wanted to do more photography. Maybe I need to blow the dust off the ol powershot.


Thank you! I have to agree with you and your kiddos. There is no such thing as too many snakes.:grin:
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Another thing to consider is that a lot of snakes are bright as hatchlings, but dull as they get older.
I know this isn’t quite what’s being discussed but I think it’s also important to note.

Here’s one of my snakes as a hatchling:

And her now:

Almost looks like a completely different snake, though I compared the markings and confirmed it was in fact the same snake. It’s kinda crazy, honestly!


Thank you for the explanation. Sorry this reply is so late. I log in to this forum inconsistently, but this was really helpful now that I’ve seen it!

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Purchased a snake online which the ooc was enhanced. She looked like she had a pink hue (my fave colorl and I have seen orange, peach and pink hues on certain morphs before. Needless to say $750 later, I get her and she does not have that color at all. I wish when they post pics, they wouldn’t enhance them so much


I love these, Very Nice!

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