Learn how to make your underwater photographs sharper, more colorful, and more compelling with the photo editing and enhancement tools in Photoshop.
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- Hi, this is Deke McClelland. Welcome to my course on enhancing underwater photographs in Photoshop. Now, as many of you know, I've been using Photoshop since it first came out, and I generally come at it from the perspective of a graphic designer, but if I were a photographer, I'd be a nature photographer, and if I were a nature photographer, I'd spend a lot of my time shooting under the sea. Think of it this way. On a typical hike through the woods, at least in my neck of the woods, you hopefully encounter a few birds, some squirrel, and maybe even a family of deer, but on a typical dive, you encounter hundreds, if not thousands, of animals.
Animals like this other-worldly jellyfish, or this elegant angelfish. Wildly colorful parrotfish. Huge, giant groupers, up to six feet long. Sea turtles, like this magical hawksbill here. Invertebrates like actual living conch. Lobsters on the loose. Reclusive king crab, and this mind-blowing octopus, not to mention potentially dangerous creatures, like moray eels, the poisonous, bearded fireworm, and lightning fast reef shark.
All of which I encountered on a single, week long dive trip in Roatan, Honduras, and all of which I'll be featuring inside this course. For, unlike our every day, average experience on dry land, the undersea world is brimming to its very gills with life. I captured these photos with a couple of consumer grade cameras, by which I mean, no DSLR, nothing that shoots raw, but good enough to get the job done, and affordable as well. If you're interested in the specific equipment, then be sure to check out the next movie, but the real star here, besides our brilliant, undersea creatures, is Photoshop.
See, shooting underwater can be tricky. A typical dive is just 45 minutes long, and during that time, you spend a lot of it clearing your ears, adjusting your buoyancy, watching your gages, and every so often, taking your attention away from your camera to see where your buddy is. It's not unusual to lose sight of your entire group. I did it twice! What I'm saying is that getting a good shot isn't easy, but it looks a lot easier when you can sweeten your shots inside Photoshop, and what I'm about to show you can't be accomplished inside any other program.
For example, this photo is the result of three smart filters, working with three adjustment layers, and this effect, you can only pull off with a gradient map layer. This image, well, it's a very sad story, but I had to disappear a certain dive master. This here is a video smart object enhanced with a camera raw filter and a little bit of high-pass. As for this, let's just say Photoshop knows how to take on something its own size. Now, while I personally captured all of these photos, I'm the first to admit that I'm not a professional photographer, but I can tell you how to develop these shots, and others like them, inside Photoshop, and I can promise you a treasure trove of fun in the following movies.
- Selecting the best frame of a fish in motion
- Correcting contrast
- Enhancing clarity
- Bringing out color and beauty in Camera Raw
- Sharpening a moving target with Shake Reduction
- Correcting lens distortion
- Developing black-and-white versions of underwater photos
- Creating a looping movie or animated GIF
- Framing macro shots
- Simulating depth of field with Gaussian Blur