Digital Photography Part 1: Getting the Most from Your Photos

It is a hard life, but we took it upon ourselves to take off to a beautiful tropical location so we can help you get great vacation photos.

Our goal is to help you find out which phone or camera is best for your vacation photos, with particular focus on the feature that attracts much of the attention . . . taking them into the water — many without the necessity of additional waterproof protection.

Adventure cameras and cell phones that can go into the water are what drew the attention of the two of us. We both make our livings in jobs that involve cameras in water, so we tackled the challenge of comparing lots of these devices to help you make a more informed choice.


Photo Processing vs. Photo Finishing

When printing photosthe processing lab adjusts color, contrast, and brightness as they print. This is known as Photo Processing or Photo Finishing.

These words have meaning… “Processing” comes from the olden days when film was “processed” — making magical bits of celluloid ready to be printed. Images are “Finished” — when your local store or mail away service adjusts color, contrast, and brightness when printing.

In the world of digital cameras, if an image is not printed, “photo finishing” is often not done. Depending on the camera lens, image sensor and photographer, photo finishing software can provide dramatic benefits to your photos.


Shooting Photos in Water

Taking photos underwater creates challenges that you may not be familiar to you. Water is 784 times more dense than air. Because of this density, light is absorbed much more quickly. The first elements of light to be absorbed are the red and orange colors. The deeper you go or the farther into water that you shoot (distance to subject), the more pronounced is the color loss.

This color loss creates a problem for the logic within the camera. When shot in “Auto” mode, the camera will “guess” wrong every time. The beautiful blue water colors come out as a light powder blue or green. Additionally, there is a mismatch between our human visual system and the capture system of the camera. Our eyes and brain are very adept at auto white balancing the colors we see — even as we look up, down, close, and far away. The white balance for each of these views is different underwater, but our brains seamlessly adjust them so that we don’t see like the camera “sees.”

We compared the cameras by setting them to Auto and several different Shooting Modes based upon lighting, location, or subject, such as “Underwater Mode”. We followed our mermaid out to sea so that she could share some beautiful vistas.

mermaid underwater


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Next up: Using Camera Settings