Introduction to Post-Processing for Underwater Photography
All right, guys, welcome! Thanks for being here. I'm so thrilled to be here. We are talking about Photoshop this week, so get super excited. I wear a shark fin on my head just to introduce myself. My business is SharkPixel.com. I'm a professional retoucher based out of Washington, D.C. And, you know, wearing the shark fin just reminds me to be a little more shark-like in business. Sometimes women need to be reminded of that. So, so yeah. So today, we are talking about underwater post-processing. So this is something that's very near and dear to my heart. I will just talk a little bit about my background in retouching, and then in my background in underwater. So I was a, I kind of like to joke with people and say that I am a, like, that I majored in Photoshop by accident. I was a digital art major. The photography program at my college was still film-based, and so I thought it might be a good idea to, instead of doing photography, do digital art. But then give yourself kind of the focus...
in photography, in digital photography. And so that's kind of how I got my start. I spent four years full time learning Photoshop, and, unfortunately, a lot of people that are starting out as photographers do not have that luxury. So what I like to do is try and translate Photoshop from, you know, the, from where, what it is. Photoshop and Lightroom, I should say, from what it is, into normal conversational English that everyone can understand. Because I think it's important to kind of just, not necessarily dumb everything down, but have it be explained in accessible words so that people can really grasp the concepts that I'm trying to talk about, and not, you know, get bogged down by, you know, some of the vocabulary. So I always try and do that. I have a long history of making mistakes in camera and then having to figure out how to fix them in Photoshop. (laughs) That's a quote that I have here. So, for me, unlike a lot of photographers out there who learned and were trained in camera, I was kind of trained in Photoshop. And then I would take the photo, and then I would be like, okay, there's a problem with it. How do I fix it in Photoshop? Like, from this other angle I was fixing things. So, anyway, so that is a little bit about me. So background in underwater. I started as an underwater model, but also as a retoucher, as a professional retoucher and photographer. I was working really closely with a photographer named Chris Crumley, who is an incredible underwater photographer. And so started in front of the camera, and then we did a Hasselblad ad in 2011, where I was in a mermaid tail laying across the bottom. And it was a really lovely experience, and then I was like, well I'm a photographer. Like, maybe I could, maybe I could step behind the camera and see what I can get. And so there you have it. So that's kind of how I got my start doing underwater photography. I've always loved the water. I've always been such a fish, or shark, whatever you wanna say. But so, that's how I kinda got started with underwater photography. So, let's jump right in. I'm gonna take the funny shark hat off, and we can start really getting into the professional stuff. So I wanted to just talk to you guys about a couple of the biggest challenges when it comes to underwater photography. Has anybody shot underwater here? All right, cool! So, some of the biggest challenges that you're going to be facing while retouching your underwater images is the loss of color. That's gonna be the biggest one that we talk about today. That's the one that we spend the most time on as well. You're also gonna have problems with the loss of contrast. So you can see, you know, I'll just flip through these images. There's a real issue with loss of contrast in images, and also, you know, bringing back color. You know, we're definitely gonna be talking about that. Almost re-colorizing images, if you will. It's really important. The next thing is going to be distortion. When you are photographing things underwater, what ends up happening is you're photographing them through a dome. And when you're photographing things through a dome, or basically another piece of glass, or plexiglass, between your lens and the subject, you're gonna have issues that arise. And then also, water is 800 times denser than air. So, if you think about that, you're literally taking photographs in a completely different atmosphere. So it's not air. Color reacts differently, contrast reacts differently. Distortion is gonna be an issue. That's why we're gonna be talking about these very specific problems that show up when you are retouching images underwater. And then our last fun thing is going to be making the shot. We're gonna talk about particulate in the water first, and then we're gonna talk about making the shot epic. Because, let's face it, let's add a little bit of Photoshop in there to make your, to make your shot even more epic. And so what I mean by that is composting the best images together. If you're working with a model underwater, and let's say she or he is not really, doesn't have a lot of experience working underwater or modeling underwater, or they're having problems with their buoyancy, they're having problems like where they're floating to the surface every second, you know. These are all problems that you have to face when you're doing underwater photography. And so, because of that, you may have a face, you may have an image where her face is perfect, but her hand is like this because she's trying to, you know, keep herself down. She's trying to like, swim like that. But you could have another image where her hand is perfect. So we're gonna talk about compositing the best of the images together, which is really, really important when trying to create an image and making it even more epic.