If you have ever tried your hand at underwater photography, you will quickly realize that there is quite a bit of post production work required to produce professional quality images that have good white balance, nice contrast, sharp detail and vibrant colors.
In this video tutorial, I explain my personal underwater photography editing workflow in detail, using both Lightroom and Photoshop.
Quality Underwater Photography Starts With Good Technique
Before watching the video tutorial on how to edit underwater photography with Lightroom and Photoshop, I think it is important to understand that it is critical to start with underwater photos that are already high quality right out of camera.
The video tutorial is not about how to “fix” underwater photos, but rather how to enhance underwater photos.
(Because the quality of underwater photos are already compromised to a certain extent due to the fact that they were taken underwater, it is extremely difficult to fix anything that could have been corrected with better camera technique.)
If you are new to underwater photography, take a look at this article with eight tips for natural light underwater photography.
Topaz Labs Photoshop Plugins
I know that sometimes Photoshop plugins seem like cheating, but to me, they are simply tools that make my life easier.
Its also really annoying when you watch a video tutorial and a plugin was used to do the bulk of the work – so I just wanted to warn everyone up front (not that these two plugins really do the bulk of the work in this case).
If you don’t want to use Topaz DeNoise, you can do your noise reduction right in Lightroom with the built in noise reduction tools.
Regardless of what tool you use to reduce the noise in your underwater photos, it is very important to apply denoise adjustments before attempting to add detail and contrast. If you don’t apply denoise adjustments first, you will simply be adding detail and contrast to all the little specks, silt and backscatter in underwater photos that you want to hide.
If you don’t want to use Topaz Detail, you can use a high-pass filter technique, or a combination of Smart Sharpen in Photoshop and Clarity in Lightroom to achieve similar results.
But for my personal underwater photography workflow, Topaz DeNoise and Topaz Detail produce better results and are faster to use.
Sample Underwater Photography Images
To get a feel for just how important post processing is for underwater photography, here are a few before and after examples of underwater photos that have been edited with the techniques explained in the video tutorial:
How Do You Edit Your Underwater Photography
Have you had problems achieving good results with underwater photography?
Do you have any underwater editing techniques that you’d like to share?
Leave a comment below and let us know!