What's Getting Clipped in This Photo? Histogram looks good - Darktable 4.4.2

I’m learning photography and experimenting with camera exposure to ensure I preserve the important parts for processing… this keeps happening and I’m not sure where I’m going wrong.

What exactly is being clipped here? Right out of the gate the entire flower is clipped, but histogram looks fine. I move the exposure around and nothing seems to take it away. Sure, I could probably desaturate it, but that defeats the purpose (I could be wrong on this).

This is not a creative image, just a scene in my back yard that is mostly dull and shady with a pop of color - good for experimenting and learning. I intentionally positioned the camera’s histogram within shadows and highlights because there’s little to no blacks or whites in the scene

DSC_0275.NEF (27.9 MB)
DSC_0275.NEF.xmp (6.9 KB)


What you are seeing is gamut clipping

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What are your profile settings? Red is a rough color for digital photography, especially when going out to a small gamut like sRGB.

Thank you!

Knowing this, I was able to work around it and achieve decent results.

DSC_0275.NEF.xmp (13.4 KB)


Apologies, but I’m only about 12 days into photography and Darktable… I’m afraid I’m not sure what profile settings means.

The red thing makes sense though… I took this photo today because yesterday’s attempt rendered rather washed out results when I tried to balance the camera’s histogram based on my previous understanding.

This experience has taught me that some color balancing is necessary with so much color contrast in an otherwise flat scene… and that red is especially troublesome.

Learn to use the waveform and ditch the histogram… it is a much more useful display of your image and provides regional information about channels across your image… Profiles are a nuance worth getting to know. For example the over exposure warning can be set to a variety of measurements. One being full gamut however it uses the colorspace selected for the histogram profile where as the dedicated gamut checking control uses the softproofing profile …so one can sort of give you gamut in the working space and one at output if you set the profiles to match up…in any case knowing what your profiles are and where they are used can be useful

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I would start watching Boris videos. Mainly this one:

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Ahh, got it. Thank you so much.

I’ll check that one out, thank you!

I’ve watched Boris’ episodes 40-41 and 2 or 3 corresponding videos by Bruce… those two make great content


I guess your histogram profile is set to sRGB and your clipping checker either to full gamut or saturation (right-click on the clipping or gamut checking icons to check). The reds seem to be out of gamut for sRGB, too saturated. I’d set the histogram profile to the same as the working profile (in the input profile module), usually linear Rec2020.

I think your question’s been answered. :slight_smile: It’s a common issue with really bright colours, especially (as said already) red. The kind of blue you get from things like LED christmas lights is another classic. I find the colorfulness tab of color calibration can be useful to reduce the saturation of the problematic channel, but that’s just one option.

Finally congrats on your rapid progress! :wink: When I was 12 days into photography I didn’t have a clue… keep at it!


Thank you for elaborating! My next question was going to be “how would one go about resolving this?” Your suggestion is greatly appreciated.

Thank you for the kind words and encouragement!

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Back in the days of color film I run a photographic lab and during tulip season the red tulips photographed like a cartoon impression. So even film struggled with reds. It would be worth comparing sigmoid and filmic in Dt to see which gives you a more pleasing rendition of reds and of course follow the great advice given by the knowledgeable people who have posted here already.

There are a few things you can do…one simple one is use the gamut compression slider and it will pull back the red a bit…beyond that you can tweak chroma and saturation and even negative vibrance can be used with a mask for an even more targeted edit on the red to try and bring it back in gamut