Skip to main content

Lens Distortion

Lesson 4 from: Post-Processing for Underwater Photography

Kristina Sherk

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

4. Lens Distortion

Lesson Info

Lens Distortion

Let's talk about lens distortion. Yay! (laughing) Everybody's favorite. Everybody's favorite. All right so we'll go back and we'll talk about some lens distortion. If we look at our little, and this is the image that I'm gonna use for that back scatter, 'cause I did use flash on this specific image. So you can see all the particula in the water down here. Which I'm gonna have to remove. We have this really handy little checkbox in Lightroom which is enable profile corrections. So whenever you're photographing under water like I mentioned earlier, you're gonna try and get as little water between you and the subject as possible. So this guy was literally right on my dome. And so of course I'm like there like click, click, click, click (laughing) right there and he's like totally swimming right up to it but it feels a little bit like he's very close to the, I don't know why it's a he, but I just feel like it's a he. And he's got a little remora friend, which is pretty amazing. Hi little g...

uy! I was actually in the bahamas, okay I'm digressing again, I was in the bahamas on one of our mermaid retreats and we had a mermaid in the water and it was very deep water and it was where they do a lot of shark dives. So there was a lot of sea life in that area. And she was actually swimming along on the top and a remora came underneath her and actually started sucking onto her ribs. And I have this photo of this mermaid and this remora sucking onto her on the side and she was like, hey buddy, like how ya doin'? Like I don't have much food or plankton, or I don't know what they eat but you're not gonna get a meal off of me. But anyway, I think it's funny that this guy is little remora there. Okay so, sorry for the ADDness. So what we're going to do is just come over here and hit that enable profile correction, and that's gonna get rid of the bulging and everything like that from the image. Now what's really nice is that it's immediately gonna look at your metadata and it's going to give you the, here let me show you that before and after again. So you can see that my lens, or the Cannon 17-40 f lens that I use underwater has a little bit of distortion, not bad, necessarily but a little bit of distortion. It also has a native vignette around the sides. So while I don't like the distortion, and I especially don't like the distortion whenever I'm working with models underwater 'cause nobody wants to have like a hand that's bigger than their face, or than their whole head. While I definitely don't like the distortion, I kinda like the vignette. So this is nice because it tells you how much of the distortion do you wanna fix and how much of the vignetting do you wanna fix. So it's nice that they're separated out because I can keep all of the fixing of the distortion but I can keep the native vignette from the lens so that's what I really like about making sure that this is on. You also, it's probably a good idea, a good rule of thumb to always remove chromatic aberration, as well because whenever you're dealing with a different, I'm not sure that this is a great image for chromatic aberration. I don't see much. But whenever you're dealing with a different atmosphere, like water, you never know. You never know how colors are gonna react. You never know how lenses are gonna react. And if the different colors are going to line up in your image. And that's when you wanna make sure that that chromatic aberration, remove chromatic aberration is turned on. If you see a blue halo on one side of your image, on one side of the image and you see a yellow halo on the other side of the image, that's chromatic aberration. And it's the colors of light that are not lining up spot on because of a problem with probably your lens. And if that's the case then you wanna have this remove chromatic aberration turned on. You can actually go in and defringe manually if you want but, because I'm not talking about that today I'm just gonna leave that be. Okay so let's talk about when distortion becomes an issue with a human under water. Okay so we've got our lovely Eyara here. Who looks awesome. This is one of the spots that I use, if you don't follow Light in Motion, you should 'cause it's an awesome brand and there's all these underwater lights that it does and they're incredibly bright and I, anyway I love them, but so you can see, most of her body is on the same plane meaning the same distance from my lens. But what happens is, if anything is further away or closer to the lens, it's going to dramatically change the size of that feature. So, or if anything is by the edge of the frame. If anything's by the edge of the frame it's going to be stretched. So you can see that her foot looks pretty stretched here. So in this situation, I would just create a duplicate of my background layer by hitting command or control + J. And let's call this Fix Foot. And we're gonna take this into filter. Liquefy. All right. So this foot for some reason looks fine. I'm totally okay with that it looks proportionate. It's this foot that I kinda feel like is stretched by the lens or by something funky going on with the lens. So what I'd like to do is protect the foot in the back and the way I can do that is by painting a freeze mask over the area that I don't want to be affected. And that's the back foot. Okay so freeze that area, there. Now I can come to my forward warp tool. And I always like whenever I'm using liquefy I like low pressure and low density because you never wanna make super crazy changes super fast. And now what we're gonna do is just kinda move that foot in a little bit. So that it's not so long. Anybody who has a problem with feet is gonna probably wanna look away. Again also using a really wide brush, is gonna help protect yourself from like anything that looks kinda crazy. Any crazy liquefying that looks weird. Okay so hitting my P key is gonna show the before and the after. All right and then I'm gonna use my thaw mask. I love that its freeze mask and thaw mask. I think it's really, really funny that those are the names. And then just get rid of that mask around that foot. And now the feet look like they're more evenly shaped. I mean like evenly sized. And then we'll go ahead and press okay. And so that's the way that I would make that change in Photoshop. But it's something that you should definitely, if you ever do wanna be shooting underwater or especially, specifically with people underwater, one really important thing to keep in mind is keeping that person on an even plane with the lens and making sure that the that that person doesn't encroach too far into the edges of the image because that's where you're gonna have your issue. That's where you're gonna have the most of your issues. So yeah, so that is it. I think we are going to stop there for questions. If we have any questions yeah. Hi I noticed that when we zoomed in there was a lot of grain. And I was wondering if that either will help the image or you know do you do something in post for that? You could use your regular noise reduction filters. Let me look at the metadata of this image and see. This was shot at night so I have a feeling it's just, that's kinda what I have to deal with. I don't have anything specific. There is a really good plugin called Noise Ninja that might help. Yeah they're great. Yeah, yeah. With that but I'm not gonna really talk about that specifically today, but yeah Noise Ninja.

Ratings and Reviews


This class is SO COOL! I don't shoot underwater photography, but now I want to try. I especially appreciate that in addition to walking through the editing process, Kristina explained the how and why of each step in a way that can be applied in so many other creative and editing situations. Awesome class!

a Creativelive Student

Really great class! I would also like to see a class on underwater photography.

Simona Grigorescu

Usefull tips. I would like to see also from Kristina a class about underwater photography. :)

Student Work