Lighting and Editing for Character
Lots of the creatures we encounter in our underwater travels, appeal to us on a variety of levels.
Sometimes we take a shot because we want to be as accurate as possible in showing the creature exactly as it is. Oftentimes though I will find a subject appealing on a whole other different level, and I want to show the creature more like I envisage it in my minds eye, rather than as a factual representation.
This was just the case when I found this Orang Utang Crab in Indonesia.
I can’t help finding them amusing and they invariably make me smile, so this time I could see in my minds eye how I wanted the end result to be. I wanted to try and give the wee orange beasty a character of sorts. So to this end I shot the picture.
For the first shot I tried to shoot it as whole as I could and lit it with fairly even lighting.
And this is the result below, which is ok’ish but I really wanted something more dramatic.
An amusing, to me anyway, Orang Utang Crab. A fairly standard fish ID shot.
So I opted to get in a whole lot closer and experiment with backlighting it a little, with half a mind on creating a snoot effect within the editing process too. I will regularly shoot with the edit in mind, and often consider this to be an important part of the proceedings. I know this causes a lot of you to gnash your teeth, and complain about not getting it right in camera etc. Unfortunately though I have often seen photographers trying to get it right in camera showing scant regard for the environment, and using snoots without any care and attention. This is not to suggest everyone does this, but if you can easily get a snooted effect in post processing, without laying all over the reef then why not?
So here is a medley of shots of the same critter taken from different viewpoints and framing positions. And then finished off and edited from within Adobe Lightroom.
Here I’ve tried to light and edit for effect, to try and highlight the character of the funny little critter!
I’m not 100% sure I’ve managed to show how amusing this hairy crustacean looked! but at least the only things moved about were pixels.