Color Correcting Underwater Photos in Photoshop

By Denny Tang

Dateline: January 14, 2005
Version: Photoshop CS

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You can quickly correct the colors and contrast of underwater photos in Photoshop. The technique I'll show you here should also prove useful for a wide variety of other images. First, open the desired image for editing.
Duplicate the current layer (Ctrl+J).
Apply an Average filter (Filter > Blur > Average).
Invert the layer (Ctrl+I).
Change the layers' blending mode to Overlay.
Add a Photo Filter adjustment layer (Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Photo Filter) and apply the following properties:

Filter: Warming Filter (85)
Density: 25-75%
Preserve Luminosity: Checkmarked

Use the Shadow/Highlight Tool (Image > Adjustments > Shadow/Highlight) to increase the Highlights.
At left is the final image.

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