Misleading iris pictures

madeyna(7/8)June 8, 2009

I have been really discouraged by picking out a iris in a catolog or online then it looks very different when I see it in person. Has anyone else had this problem? I have the tags and pics for every iris that I have planted here and yet I have iris I cann,t because my daughter removed my id stakes and the iris don,t look at all like any of the picks on the tags. I choose about a dozen iris I wanted to purchase from the catolog and online before I went iris shopping but when I got there and cross referanced them them the same iris in bloom they weren,t at all what they looked like in the picture. I only ended up buying what I could see in bloom.

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Ginny McLean_Petite_Garden

Unfortunately most of the pictures are color altered to make them appear more appealing. And sometimes the opposite is true in that they are actually much more beautiful when viewed with our own eyes. As well, lighting, time of day, air temp. ect all play a part in the look on the photo. Something I have learned to live with which is probably why I have so many surprises come bloom time and why I have sooooo many irises! :)

    Bookmark   June 8, 2009 at 2:04PM
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I have sorta decided not to buy anymore without seeing them first. We,ll see how long that last though. My Change of Pace and Piccasso Moon finally bloomed this year and looked nothing like the picture but they are much prettier so I,m happy with those. I have a purple with a lighter top that has me totally stumped though. Its either Best Bet or Twist of Fate ,either way its nothing like either in the pictures.Mayby a lot of mismarking happens.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2009 at 2:37PM
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Nancy zone 6

I don't go by catalogs, but I do pay attention when people here post pictures. I can always ask if the color is accurate if I am concerned. Of course, that is where I get into trouble. I don't need more iris, but I really want them when I seem something very different from what I have.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2009 at 6:20PM
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Ginny McLean_Petite_Garden

It's a pretty benevolent addiction though! I use the internet like this forum or Dave's Garden as picture sources as I find they are more accurate. Best Bet is a good example. It is often pictured as really blue. There is no such thing as a blue iris. At least not the blue that I know is blue. Best Bet is still very pretty, very much what I would call purple falls, and is the first iris I ever had that bloomed. I was so elated with that bloom, I was hooked on irises from then on! I guess I will just have to start an IA group! haha


    Bookmark   June 8, 2009 at 6:53PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

I find it frustrating too. I have learned to double and triple check each iris online before I purchase it. I also ask here before I buy, but much of the time no one knows the iris in question, so you have to go by the online photos.

I use google images, Dave's Garden, Hortiplex, and BlueJ's web pages to cross check color. It's also hard to tell what an iris will look like in the garden: will a blue iris look gray? If it's any consolation, it's even harder to determine color with daylilies.

Schreiner's online catalog is really bad. I don't think it's intentional, they just have lousy photos. I buy from them, but double check the color.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2009 at 7:44PM
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Ginny McLean_Petite_Garden

Another thing I have found to be helpful is to check out actual growers pages. Some of the irises we order on line for instance, are not grown where we are ordering from. I find that most growers, breeders or even collectors have taken their own photos and not changed them via Photoshop. Daylilies too. And sometimes it is just not possible to capture the true color in a photo. I figure if it is a flower, then I will like it or learn to like it. :0)


    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 12:33AM
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I ordered Persian Berry (none will come until August), other photos don't look at all like it after I got curious and looked up regular photos on the web, and I was disappointed. I ordered Celebration Song, and it doesn't look at all like their photo, but it's ok. Ordered Edith Wolford, did see a photo of that here and I think I'm going to like that one.

Now I'm getting ready to order some Siberians and flying blind again. I'll just take a chance because one is new and I don't want to look them all up, and I can't get to any iris gardens. Some people post really nice photos, and some aren't so good, so you can't always go by peoples' photos either, but it is a help.

My Mariposa Skies is pretty but looked true dark blue w/white standards w/blue stipe in it in photo and picture on the package. When blooming, it is "off" a bit but pretty and the bud is dark blue like the photo, no pruple in it.

The only one that is really impressive when people see it and looked like the vendor's photo is Chasing Rainbows.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 12:37AM
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Millennium Falcon is purple not blue at all. Okay I just had to get that off my chest,it came as a big shock because it was my absolute must have last year. I think they have misleading color photos to trick us into buying more. I am guilty of starting a whole new color line to match iris that were purchased because the color in the photos would have worked with what I already had in a particular spot but the actual iris didn,t match the photo. So that leaves me with a stunning new iris that doesn,t look right with anything I have so I have to buy more to work with it then of course some of the those new ones don,t turn out the right color so the game goes on. I buy they sell.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 12:49AM
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iris_gal(z9 CA)

I got so irritated the iris weren't as pictured. Then I got my own digital camera. Oops. Try as hard as I could, Victoria Falls still turned out blue!!! It was a humbling learning experience. I found if I held the camera at a slightly different angle the color was more accurate at the expense of a more flattering view. Which is the iris seller going to choose.....................?

I would check at Snowpeaks site. Her color is quite good and a large selection of thumbs you can enlarge.

Be aware of the oversaturated pics at Blue J's.

Much depends upon the camera and the time of day. Be leary of photos taken with the flash (adds red) and those in the shade (camera can't always pick up the red pigment in lavenders). Browns are also a bear to catch. Always read descriptions.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 1:19AM
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Im new to Iris collecting this spring... I have never bought them, only received them from neighbors wanting to swap plants, or someone I helped garden... so I actually saw the blooms first... I was at a yard sale a month ago and admired a gorgeous blush/pink Iris in the yard, sparked a convo with the people and will be swapping with her. I've decided this is the best way. Especially since the general response has been the same... not reliable pictures. Only problem is, I have to try to ID them myself since my swaps have been with gardeners that don't keep track of the names. No biggy, I end up learning more as I hunt for the ID. Good luck with your Iris! Bronwyn

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 11:27AM
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Hi all, I'm new to these forums and just found this one. I am an Iris fanatic. I have to say that I've ordered from Schreiner's before and was in no way disappointed with the flowers....but it never occurred to me to go back and see if the colors matched those in the catalog. I just placed a large order with them (27 Irises) that will be delivered in July. I realized after i placed the order that they may be ready to bloom just about the time I'll be needing to dig them up and take them with me when I move (I'm retiring in 2011 *hopefully*).

For those just starting their Iris habit, I would suggest joining Freecycle in your area. I connected with a woman that was clearing out her Iris bed and got a huge rubber container full of Iris from her (last year). They bloomed for me this year. A lovely pale lavender.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 2:57PM
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I have to agree with iris_gal. It's darn hard to get digital pictures to come out exactly right. I'm having problems with blues,lavenders,purples,deep reds, and red violets. We just bought a new camera before Christmas and I had hoped to get truer color pictures from it. I like to take pictures of my irises and daylilies and I get really frustrated when my pictures are not as my eye sees them. I found out that what they look like in the viewfinder is how they come out on the computer. From the little research I've done, different cameras take different colors differently.

aliska12000, I run into the same problem with buying daylilies. Even when doing reasearch on-line and looking up multiple pictures of the same plant, once in a while I get a surprise when I see the plant blooming in my garden. Let me say though that you are going to love Persian Berry when you get it. It was one of my very first iris purchases, and still remains one of my favorites. PB is a blend of colors and is very fragrant. One day it may look lavender, and another day you will see more pink or mauve in it. Everyday, PB is just a beauty.


    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 5:51PM
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I tried to take pictures of some of mine in bloom today and I,m running into the same problem . My purples are coming up more of a dark burgandy and my blues are showing up purple. Shrieners had some stunning true blues in the display gardens but I was suprised to see some of the blues weren,t blue in person and the reds where really brick colored.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 6:33PM
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linlily, thanks for posting that photo! If mine looks anything like that, I'll be a happy camper even though it looks nothing like Wild's online photo.

Others posters were right when they noted about different cameras, lighting conditions, technique, etc.

As to photography, my current camera renders colors pretty true, and I'm not in expert status but have learned a few things. You have to decide if you want to make your photo "pop" or render it as it really is like in Photoshop CS2 which I use, many other graphic editing program perform essentially the same functions. Overcast days w/high diffraction make pinks and reds look almost neon, any bright colors actually. I notice I blow the reds on the right of the histogram (I always shoot with the histogram now in RAW) and blow blues on the left, and I have not found any or camera setting to correct for it. Yet. I'm still learning, too.

What it boils down to is color data is lost; i.e., it is called "clipping" and means what it says, clips off some of the color information. Now I'm not sure, but I think it is inherent with digital cameras and where they are with the technology and don't know if it was the same in the film days. Mine is bad that way, and I have a good one; some are better.

Here is a tip that helps me a lot with flowers in bright sunlight; I stumbled across it by getting bad shots. Try to find how to turn down the exposure compensation aka EV aka Exposure Bias Value in your camera to as much as -1. Usually I routinely set my compensation to -2/3 for flowers in sunlight, ESPECIALLY whites. Shooting RAW gives you a little more latitude with exposure and not that hard to comprehend but is not foolproof. Just because I figured it out doesn't mean I invented it; others were using exposure compensation, too, I just hadn't understood it yet.

Here are a couple examples, these were taken with my first point and shoot camera. The first batch of this same group of rhododendrons was ruined, overexposed. This one probably is backfocussed as well but the leaves are in focus, that camera was bad for that but otherwise took good photos for what it was.

I did not make any adjustments other than cropping in Photoshop for these.

Here is the EXIF info for the following bad shot: May 25, 2003, Time 12:29.41, Aperture Priority, f5.6, ISO 100, 1/250 sec, Exposure Bias Value 0.

It was bugging me why they were so bad, so I went back two days later and tried again, sunlight again. I was playing with different settings and got some bad ones that day, too. But this one turned out nice.

Here is the EXIF info for the shot: May 27, 2003, Time 14:09:41, Aperture Priority, f5.6, ISO 100, 1/650 sec, Exposure Compensation -1.

Can you see the difference? There are a couple other ways to compensate for bright sunlight, but I won't go into it, involves metering, "stopping down" which is making the aperture # higher (smaller opening in lens), adjusting the shutter speed, changing the metering mode from pattern, partial, center weighted average, spot. Only the newer dslr's have spot metering. That will give you an overview.

The down side when I use exposure compensation and set it to negative or even sometimes positive for snow, the next time I'm taking pictures, I often forget to change it back to 0.

Here is a link that might be useful: Persian Berry at Gilbert H. Wild

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 9:46PM
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aliska12000, thanks for all the great info about your camera and pictures. I think they are lovely. You do a great job.

I went to Gilbert Wild's and their picture of Persian Berry is not true to how my plant looks. I still have one bloom left on mine right now and it looks like the picture that I posted above. I don't see any "blue" in the flower at all. But there is mixture of lavender, pink, and mauve. I know you are going to love it once it gets established. There's nothing prettier than a large clump of Persian Berry blooming in the spring.


    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 1:00PM
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Linda, I hope the camera info is helpful, took me a long time to put that together. But I just wanted to share from some of my many unsatisfactory photos, how to get better results, and it's taken me from 2003 to get to where I am now. I still get duds.

You are right, the photo is nothing at all like what it is going to be like; I'm sure of it now, can't even imagine how they got it to look like that, almost looks like satin.

Anyway, thanks to you, I now know I'll be happy with it anyway, think I ordered 3 of those for shipment in Aug.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 3:20PM
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sirmatthew(4 - Iowa)

You can tell if the picture has been modified if you can see some of the leaves in the background. I have noticed in a number of places that they have "blued" the picture.

I have Babbling Brook, and I have taken dozens of photos of it and I think it IS really a blue, although a sky blue. I did not mess with the colors and my other bluish-purple ones did turn out bluish-purple.

The rest are on my flickr page.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2009 at 2:23AM
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Thatlooks about as true blue as it gets, and I love that iris. Babbling Brook, you say? I'll make a note of it and if Princess Caroline ever blooms and multiplies, will see what shade she is. IIRC, she is supposed to have orange beards. I almost like yours better.

I'm not ordering any more this year, but I love blue, and will try to find that iris next year. From whom did you purchase it? That could make a difference, too. It has such a pretty, soft look, and I like the white-to-yellow? beard.

You did a good job on the photo, thanks for posting it. And thanks also to linlily for posting hers.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2009 at 11:22AM
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mareas(OR Zone 8)

I agree, Sir, that gorgeous Babbling Brook IS blue. Here are 3 different views of mine to compare ~

See how just the changes in light change the colors?

I highly recommend going to an iris farm to see them in person if variations in color are an issue.
You can find them everywhere by checking the Iris society listings.
I've been fortunate enough to tour Schriener's display gardens many times & think most of their catalog photos are right on target.
Computer monitor colors are another whole can of worms...

    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 12:02PM
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garden_of_mu(Z7/8 PNW)

The very best way to learn how to evaluate color in iris photos that you see online or in catalogs is to get a camera and take dozenss of pics of your own irises in all types of lighting (sun, shade, bright overcast, etc.), different times of day (morning, midday, dusk), and different stages in bloom (first opening, day old, ready to curl up). This will give you an excellent basis for evaluating other iris blooms you're not familiar with. You can take a dozen different photos of the same iris that all look different yet are all representative of the flower. So much is dependent on the lighting, the camera and finally the computer monitor. There is never just one shot that is definitive of the flower. This changeability is part of their magic and appeal.

Look at the foliage in the background of the photo - is it excessively blue or yellow toned? Use that to evaluate the color on the bloom and which direction it may be pushed. I doubt that any reputable iris sellers (with the big warehouse catalogs being an exception - I'm talkin' bout you Van Borgondian, Wayside, et al! So guilty of this.) intentionally mislead people with their pictures. They want to give the best representation of their irises - if they mislead who will come back for more? Granted if an iris is red toned they want the photo to look red. And there is no true red in irises - it's all brick red, rust red, or wine red. Which one the picture shows depends on the lighting. The description is the best bet for evaluating photo accuracy.

If it is way off chances are you got a mistake and your iris was labeled incorrectly. It happens. Send the seller a pic of the iris in your garden and if they agree it is not correct ask for a replacement or a correct name.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 8:44PM
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Lots of "Blues" out there, "Sea Power", "Breakers", and "Blueberry Bliss" I grow and are Blue.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 7:58AM
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Happy new year 2012:

Yeah. Iris. One of my fav obsessions.
We have a Botanical garden here in Hamilton, Ontario that includes an iris garden.

true blue is my holy grail, in gardening.

Babbling brook is truly a baby blue in most light.

others that are more blue than lavender/violet are, TOUCH OF SKY, blue reflection, rapture in blue, sapphire hills and STAR SAILOR (which photographs lousy but looks amazing royal blue in person).

Also several siberian iris hit the true blue mark well.
Look to JOE PYE WEEDS GARDEN for the best catalog of siberian iris.

IF ANY ONE HAS BEEN TO SCHREINER'S, which iris cultivars stood out as TRUE shades of blue?

I am in Canada and have not yet had a chance to fly out there to see them. It is on my bucket list.

I thank you all kindly: Johan

    Bookmark   December 29, 2011 at 3:15PM
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I have exactly opposite situation with my camera compared to some of the previous postings. In the afternoon it is impossible to make pictures of violet flowers, because everything is turned into saturated blue. The orange-red will be shown as dark pink.

The closest to true blue I have had is Sapphire Hills. None of the newer ones has beaten it yet. Of the lighter ones, Oregon Skies is relatively pure pale blue. There is very very little blue in MY Breakers, it is actually greyish violet. On the other hand, there is NOTHING purple in Best Bet. The standards are light blue , and the falls are very dark marine blue.

Disappointing blue colour:

Delta Blues, Blenheim Royal, Pacific Mist, Royal Elegance, Grecian Skies, Bristol Gem.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2012 at 12:57PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

I was disappointed with the blue in No Count Blues. Too lavendar for me. It's a pretty flower, but not show-stopping. Victoria Falls is a nice blue in my garden. Northwest Progress and World Premier strike me as quite blue, but not perfect.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2012 at 9:18PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

In the afternoon it is impossible to make pictures of violet flowers, because everything is turned into saturated blue.

===>>> i find the best blue pix are taken after dinner.. as the sun fades or loses intensity .. and especially in that short time.. when the sky turns pink [which is a complimentary color to blue] ... but before the flash is necessary ...

in fact ... as a camera novice .. i find no pix are easy to take in blinding sun ...

i have found .. that if i need to squint .. or my glasses darken.. then no pic will turn out ... my squinting means.. to me.. that the camera will wash out things ...

one trick.. if you just have to take them in brilliant sun.. is to use your body .. to place the flower in shade ... and then snap the picture ... presuming you dont have a slave to carry an umbrella for you ... which is another trick i have seen on large garden tours ....


    Bookmark   January 15, 2012 at 12:33PM
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i take multiple photos (sometimes 40 or 50)of all blooms in varying light conditions then i keep the one that is most like what i see

Here is a link that might be useful: Gideons Lamp

    Bookmark   January 30, 2012 at 11:28PM
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