PICTURE IT: You emerge from the sparkling water elated, having just completed the dive of your life. All around you divers are whooping and high-fiving each other – the atmosphere on the dive-deck is both electric and contagious.
Amid the buzz, you are silently thanking Neptune that this dive was the one on which you remembered to bring your camera.
With the memories safely tucked away on your memory card, this will be a story for your future grandchildren, and to finally cement your hero status at the local pub.
Settling down over a well-earned post-dive drink, you pull out your laptop, insert the card and… nothing. Your dream pictures are shot after shot of blue, blue and more blue.
Examples of what can be done with white balance adjustment, in this case using the Dive+ app.
Sometimes under-exposed, sometimes over-exposed, they are not a patch on the vivid colours and stark contrast that you remembered so clearly.
I can almost guarantee that this won’t be a far cry from the first experiences of anyone who has attempted to turn their hand to underwater photography. My own first experiences were decidedly underwhelming.
Getting the shot right “in camera”, with no post-processing, usually takes a great investment in training, time, and equipment.
But there is an easier (and much cheaper) solution. For those of us who just want a fantastic-looking set of holiday snaps to semi-professionals honing their craft, a slew of apps is available for every taste and budget to help you get the most from your photos.
While above water, what we record with our cameras bears little difference to what we see with our eyes. Life becomes a little different the moment we drop beneath the waves.
As depth increases, we quickly begin to lose the Big 3 Cs: Colour, Contrast and Clarity.
For the most part, when we use any kind of software or app to post-process our pictures, this is what we’re trying to restore.
So I have scored the apps on a scale running from 0 (completely hopeless) to 5 (utterly fantastic) in the categories shown in the panel below left.
SCORING THE APPS
Is the app pitched at complete beginners or best left to the experts? A beginner app will be straightforward, with no jargon, but might be lacking in features that offer very fine control. An app aimed at people with a little more experience might require more understanding and user input but will offer greater control over how your images look.
Ease of Use:
With increased control often comes increased complication. Can you find your most commonly used adjustments easily? Are they intuitive to use?
Does the app give you realistic and true-to-life results, or does the end product look over- or under-processed?
Does the app offer any add-ons, extra functionality or support that sets it apart from its peers?