Good shots straight out of the camera

…or ‘pro’-tips for the Danish national championship.

Most splash-in competitions don’t allow the photographer to do ANY EDITING on the photos they enter into the competitions. This puts extra weight on the need to make sure the photo is correctly exposed, lighted perfectly and composed to make it stand it among all the other photos.

Earning some good positions in the Danish championship over the last years made me think, what it is I specifically do, that makes the jury like my shots:

  • I usually have some plans for potential shots thought out beforehand – I do a little sketch or two to visualize compositions and strobe placement. 
  • I always think about what I could do if conditions are perfect. And then I make sure to have some shots for less than perfect conditions in mind as well – I AM diving in Denmark!
  • I turn up the saturation, sharpness and contrast a couple of notches on my JPGs – I’m no a purist in this regard… My images need impact and a bit of extra punch in the colors tells my story better!
  • I turn my JPG size down to medium (no need to deliver 48 megapixels JPGs that will only show more backscatter and where my focus isn’t stellar… Yes! It happens *s*)
  • Then I try to have at least ONE crazy plan that I know haven’t been done before – often I’ll just fail but some times it’ll work. Break the rules!… Rebel!
  • Don’t ever think that the shot can be fixed in post. It can’t!… ALWAYS check your shot on the screen and then recheck it! Check your sharpness. Zoom in on the the corners – that’s where your backscatter is usually worst! The amount of times I’ve seen a winning shot on my screen only to be let terribly down on the computer later can be counted!…
  • This will also serve as something to kick off my competition and get me going, so I won’t focus too much on all those missing nudibranchs I saw in March (There are NEVER nudibranchs in August) or the terrible visibility (There is ALWAYS bad viz in August)
  • I’m in Denmark! I get CLOSE and mind my strobes!… And then I get a little bit closer again!

PS. Don’t tell anyone else OK? These tips stay between you and me! 😀