5 Replies Latest reply on Jan 16, 2017 12:51 AM by andrewh41798011

    white balance in underwater photos

    andrewh41798011

      I know this question has been raised before but I am hoping my particular situation may present another angle.

       

      I have underwater photos from 20m depth that are jpegs with no white balance applied. They have an overwhelming blue caste and because I am trying to identify corals I would really like get some colour back into them. There is a PVC frame in the photos which is white so I was hoping that this fact could be used to retrospectively adjust colours. I have tried with not very exciting results so I am hoping someone who is much better versed in photoshop could help/advise. I can send a few images if requested.

       

      cheers

      M0013879.JPG

      Andy

        • 1. Re: white balance in underwater photos
          K´mo Level 3

          The red channel is almost gone and totally black with the corals. So I afraid there is no way to get right colors visible. You can try with channel mixer to get some, but still the colors will not be real.

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: white balance in underwater photos
            D Fosse Adobe Community Professional & MVP

            In the future, shoot raw. In a raw file you have all the information the sensor recorded, and a much better chance of recovering the red channel.

             

            A jpeg is so heavily processed, and so much information discarded in the process, that what's gone is really gone forever.

            1 person found this helpful
            • 3. Re: white balance in underwater photos
              davescm Adobe Community Professional

              As K'mo said the red colour channel has very little information - you don't have any raw files do you ?

               

              Working just from this image - I made a duplicate layer in Camera Raw where I adjusted the colour balance and the curves for the individual channels. This was still not ideal due to lack of red - however I took that adjusted layer and set its blending mode to colour. Then put a curves layer over the top.

               

              This has brought up some of the purple coralline and green algae but the real reds and yellows are lacking due to the lack of info recorded. The best way for pictures like this is underwater lighting - at 20m there is little red to record.

               

              As I said - If you have a raw file we may be able to do more.

              Dave

              • 4. Re: white balance in underwater photos
                andrewh41798011 Level 1

                Thankyou for your reply. We usually at least do the white balance with a card but for whatever reason it wasn't done on this trip. While raw mode is certainly the best mode for quality we find that the camera takes too long to take the image which ultimately impacts on our ability to get all the info we need on a single tank of air. We are taking a photo every metre for 150 metres.

                • 5. Re: white balance in underwater photos
                  Trevor.Dennis Adobe Community Professional

                  K´mo wrote:

                   

                  The red channel is almost gone and totally black with the corals. So I afraid there is no way to get right colors visible. You can try with channel mixer to get some, but still the colors will not be real.

                  There's nothing to work with. If you stamp down with the color sampler tool, like K'mo says, there is nothing to work with in the Red channel, but the blue channel is blown pretty much everywhere, and the green channel is not much better.  What tends to happen in situations like this, is the camera tries too hard to pull up the weak channel, which leads to overall over exposure.  Close ups of flowers is a case in point, with red channels so often completely blown.   You are up against it right from the outset with underwater, so it is crazy not to give yourself as much to work with as possible, by not shooting RAW.

                   

                  Underwater Photography Guide

                  Manual White Balance and Ambient Light|Underwater Photography Guide

                  That last URL notwithstanding, it looks strobes are the go to tool for getting good colour underwater.