It’s been just over six months since my last big assignment— so I’ve gone through all the photos a million times. I’ve spent hours editing backscatter from my best shots, from the descent shots, even from the outtakes. What’s an underwater photographer to do?
Last month, National Geographic Brazil published a cover that got me thinking—it’s the image of a crock where the nose of the toothsome animal actually pops out of the frame and onto the magazine’s signature yellow border. It almost looked like it was coming right at me!
Well with no diving in sight and some Photoshop free time, I set to creating the same effect with my more exciting images (even my own croc pic).
I started by creating a Photoshop frame template with a three-quarter inch white border on the outside and a black one on the inside. Then I went through my portfolio in search for eye-popping wide-angle images—ones where the subject was already ready to pop out of the frame.
By gently, carefully erasing the frame in front of the subject I could create the illusion that the subject’s fins, face even tentacles are leaping off the page (or screen).
As with any technique, some subjects work better than others: Sharks, turtles, stingrays and other naturally exciting subjects definitely compliment the framing process. Macro subjects have a more subtle effect, like this super rare mototi octopus, which seems to be crawling gently out of the frame.
One thing to keep in mind is to choose subjects in sharp focus. Blurry or bokeh subjects will take forever to get just right when erasing the frame, and even when complete might ruin the illusion.
It may be time consuming, but the final results can be quite unique! Besides, what else are we doing during off-gassing other than looking through underwater photos already?