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Dive Photo Guide

Editing Tutorial Intro

By Doug Sloss
Sure you can take the picture, but do you know how to edit it?  For many underwater shooters capturing the image in camera is only half the battle. After pulling the trigger, many photographers soon find themselves lost in the wilderness of post processing.

As the resident long-time photo pro onboard a popular Micronesian live aboard, I remember the digital revolution happening almost overnight with digital cameras swallowing up the old film systems in just a few short years.

The compact early models of digital cameras that began showing up on board just a handful of years back, soon turned into a wave of the latest and greatest setups the industry had to offer,and they just keep getting better as time goes on.  

But one thing has always remained constant: whether you are a seasoned pro or taking your new digital rig down for the very first time, the challenge goes beyond just pulling the trigger, it surfaces when it’s time to edit your shots.
computer monitor with underwater photograph

Once captured, your images need to be downloaded, reviewed, and organized.  They then need to be cleaned, color corrected and optimized.  Somewhere along the way the potential winners begin to separate from the pack and master files emerge, which will be eventually showcased as absolute winners.

Each photographer reaches that stage in his/her own unique and personal way.  For some, simply capturing the image is enough.  Once the photo is downloaded, it's part of the collection and the results are acceptable.  For others, the digital darkroom becomes their digital playground, their creative canvas, a way to craft out and create a personal work of art that takes their captures to a higher level.  For the many who fall into this latter category, Adobe Photoshop has become the professional standard and editing software of choice.

Adobe Photoshop CS4
For those just starting to seriously edit their photos, programs like Photoshop can seem overwhelming at first.  But as time goes by and users begin to slowly digest the core elements of the program, editing becomes less of a burden, and more of a welcomed challenge to craft out a truly outstanding image.  As photographers begin to master this do-it-yourself approach to polishing up their images, many find the process almost equally as rewarding as capturing the shot itself.
For sure, reading the manual can help immensely, but a hands-on approach with real life underwater examples and some extra tips, tricks and shortcuts can really make the difference in taking your post processing skills to the next level.

As you begin to explore the world of digital editing and reference the techniques and tips we cover here, you'll begin to use this archive as an educational reference to help build a stronger foundation to suit your editing needs.  In time, you'll develop a system and workflow you can call your own...


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