Sunday, June 14, 2015

Photoshop Tips from Geri Murphy, Part 1: Quick and Easy Ways to Improve Your Digital Photographs:

I recently went on a liveaboard trip to Mexico's Revillagigedos Islands (known to most divers as "Socorro").  I highly recommend the liveaboard -- the new Belle Amie, brought to you by the folks who own and operate the well-known and well-respected Nautilus Explorer liveaboard --and the destination. 

I met longtime underwater photographer Geri Murphy on the boat.  I've seen Geri's work for years and years, since the days when I was starting out as an underwater photographer.  Geri's photographs graced over 1000 Skin Diver Magazine covers, so she really knows what she is doing as an underwater photographer. 

Geri is producing a book on the trip, which consisted of a bunch of friends of Ernie Brooks II, who is an acknowledged master of black-and-white work underwater.  For the book, Geri graciously took a couple of my images for this book project, and processed the images so that they looked better.

I have never learned how to post-process my images well (I always say that I already spend way too much time in front of the computer to want to spend more time Photoshopping my images).  I was so impressed with how Geri had improved my images that I asked her to give me suggestions on how she performs her post-processing magic.  Geri was kind enough to send me very long, detailed instructions on how she processed my images in Photoshop.  With her permission, I share her (edited) tutorials here.  Any mistakes and typos are mine; but the ideas and writing are Geri's!

Here is Geri's contact information in case anyone reading these tutorials would like to contact her for information on her trips, private tutorials, etc.

Geri Murphy:

Norb to Geri:
HI Geri:

The images look so much better now that you processed them.  I think that they look great, and your photo of me is also fine. 

I was worried that the manta ray in the Cabo Pearce shot was not quite sharp.  You've really brought out the manta in terms of sharpness.  I also tried some color correction to bring out the clarion angel's orange color. 

I wonder if you can give me some tips on what you did to post-process this image.  I use Aperture and only do global corrections like levels, saturation, etc.  I don't go to the trouble to do layers and that sort of thing.  I just adjust sliders.  My results never come out that well.  Can I ask what some of the steps were that you did to process this image?  As always, if you don't have the time, no need to reply.  I need to sit down and do some Photoshop tutorials one of these days, and unfortunately will have to switch to Lightroom. 

Thanks Geri!
Best, Norb

Here's the initial image.  It is flat, there is a lot of backscatter, and the orange clarion angelfish don't look that orange.

Original image of manta ray with Clarion angelfish.  The image does not "pop" as I had hoped.  The colors are too muted, I wish that the orange color of the angelfish would pop out more, and there is a lot of debris and backscatter in the water. 

Geri to Norb:

I feel your pain.  It has gotten so complicated.  I do not have Aperture, I use Windows with Photoshop.  ...

I have a great system that I can turn flat, fair photos into stunners.  I only use a few tools.... resulting in fast results.  I do not know why everyone does not use these 4 or 5 simple tools, but they don't. 

Below are three photos.... the Original jpeg you sent is step one.... and the after photo.  I used a single tool in Photoshop to get this result. 

Step One - Open the photo - If you want the maximum resolution, just open the file in RAW and then go straight to "OPEN IMAGE" in the lower right hand corner of the raw window.  Do not move any of the sliders.... just OPEN IMAGE.  When you click on that, the photo will open in Photoshop as a JPEG.  This is the photo....

The next step is the best one.... Simply go up to the tool bar in Photoshop and Click On the pull down Menu of IMAGE (to the right of Edit) and then click on "AUTO TONE" 

WALAA!!  S-U-P-R-I-S-E !!!!

Tomorrow, I will take you from here to finish the photo-shopping of this photo into this:


Anonymous said...

Nobody processes jpg files anymore. Everybody shoots RAW and begins the processing on the RAW file in Lightroom or Photoshop. Get with the times, Norbert!

Norbert Wu said...

Hi Bonnie P: Actually, I know this. But a JPG was the fastest way for Geri to post-process my image for her book project.