NUPG 11th February 2019 Meeting Report

February saw the NUPG welcoming Nick & Caroline Robertson-Brown of Frogfish Photography who entertained us with a presentation entitled “Telling Tales” which was all about the type of underwater images required by diving magazines, newspapers, online media and other organisations. Nick is a fellow of the Royal Photographic Society and specialises in photo journalism and is currently the Photo Editor of Scubaverse Magazine whilst Caroline has a MSc. in animal behaviour and is the Deputy Editor of Scubaverse so they should know what they are talking about.

The differences between single page double page spreads was discussed and how for an article in a magazine a great double page spread image is the photo that has to be thought of first. This image needs to tell the story of the article. As always the talk was illustrated with many examples of their work.

The discussion turned on to the importance of divers in a shot, especially for dive magazine front covers. Lots of front cover shots have been taken in portrait mode, so try to remember this underwater. Some dive magazines will only produce front covers that have photos of divers in them, even if it is only a silhouette. A diver can add scale and make a picture “pop”. When photographing divers for a magazine image it is good to either have the face lit or the diver to be a silhouette. Also try to avoid photos of divers with camera gear or ones that show a diver with loads of dangly bits that can make the image look untidy. It is also interesting to note that black and white images rarely make a great front cover shot.

Images that can tell a story as well as have a good headline are often favoured. They don’t have to be 100% perfect as wording and post photo editing can work wonders, however there is only a certain amount of backscatter allowed! At this point they emphasized the importance of strobe angles in underwater photography.

It is always good to prepare a “To do” list so that all the particular shots that are required are taken. Often above water pictures are needed and these can be very easy to forget. Many more hints and tips were supplied especially if you are hoping to write and illustrate your own article for a dive magazine. Again there were many great examples that they have had published in the diving press along with the tales of where and how they took the images.

The next part of the talk went onto discuss other media that is not dive orientated such as the general press, television and digital social media and how images can be sold to them. They used their iconic shot which launched the BT Paralympic World Cup in 2012 as an example. Following on from this they showed some of their images which have been the most published. Unsurprisingly seals and salt water crocodiles were some of the top billing shots as was the swimming pig!

After the presentation it was time for our monthly competition “Front Cover”. There were an impressive number of entries. We had asked Nick and Caroline to pick the winners. They went through every shot discussing what was good and bad about each one and how some could be improved and how it was difficult to pick a winner out of so many great photographs.

The overall winner was Elaine White and her great image of a diver in The Cenotes, Mexico. There were two joint runner-ups, Paul Ansell with a lovely fish portrait shot taken off Bussletown Jetty Australia and Alex Tasker with his image of a diver on the “Mark Graf”.

There were also 2 highly commended images, Elaine White with her shot of a seal in The Scillies and Maggie Russell and her shot of a diver over a large brain coral taken in The Banda Sea Indonesia.

Following on from this there also was the announcement of the winning compact shot “Best of 2018” The winning image was Jason Melton and a delightful shot of a blenny in its coral home.

Overall Compact Winner

Congratulations to all our winners and thank you to everyone who entered, there were some great images.

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