By Lauren Harmon | Tuesday, June 04, 2013
A side effect of shooting underwater is that colors are filtered away by the water between your lens and the subject. A flash can help, but there will still be some color loss. You can bring back the full-color glory of sea life, though, by using the tools in Photoshop. In this movie, Deke McClelland shows you how.
To get the best results from this technique, you need to make sure you have enough color information in your image. But you can’t gauge this with the naked eye. Instead, go to the Channels panel in Photoshop and isolate the Red channel. If the channel appears too dark, this technique probably won’t work, but if your image detail is still clear, you can proceed.
Choose Window > Histogram to open the Histogram panel and see what kind of corrections you need to make. Choose All Channels from the panel flyout menu to review the levels in your image. In the case of the sea turtle image, we need to introduce shadows to the Green and Blue channels and highlights to the Reds. Close the Histogram panel.
Experiment with the different correction algorithms to find the one that works best with your image. In this sea turtle’s case, it’s Enhance Per Channel Contrast. This is usually the best algorithm for images with a highly-pronounced color cast. Then turn on Snap Neutral Midtones and click OK.
That’s how to bring detail and vibrancy back to your underwater photographs. Just don’t forget to bring a flash to get the raw material. Check out the video for more information on cropping and rotating your photos.
Members can watch the followup movie in the lynda.com library to learn how to add a glossy, smooth finish to the turtle. And everyone should return next week for a new free movie on reducing noise with Camera Raw.
Check back for more free movies each week in Deke’s Techniques.
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Tags: Photoshop, Deke McClelland, Adobe Photoshop, Photography, Deke's Techniques, Underwater Photography
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