Underwater photography by Andy Kirkland


Image processing software offers a lot of opportunities for image modification

Generally, this is work that could have been done in the darkroom with film images, but it would have taken non-professionals days, rather than minutes.

Most of my photos would fall within the rules laid down in the “Adjusting your image”
paragraph in the BBC / NHM Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition (if only they were good enough to enter …), in that adjustments (white-balance curves, exposure adjustment etc.) are applied to the whole of the image.

I now try to “tag” manipulation in Lightroom, and this should feed through. It’s not foolproof, but generally I’ll limit adjustments – other than those above – to cropping the image. This now shows in the “Photo metadata” box

Before this I used the filename to show adjustments. There are still some albums to be updated, but here’s what I used to do …

Other adjustments can be identified by a suffix to the filename, preceded by an underbar.
This may be followed by a version number (where – for example – multiple crops are made).
These categories have been adapted from the submission guidelines on the SeaPics photo agency website, which was really helpful.

  • “_C” – the image has been “cropped” (i.e. outer elements have been excluded)
  • “_M” – Areas of the image have been “retouched” digitally.
    This would typically include removing backscatter or smudges on the lens
  • “_DM” – digitally manipulated – e.g. “cloning” out a brightly coloured fin
  • “_DC” – If I ever do produce composite photos (made up of two images), this is how they’ll be labelled
updated 25/7/2010

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