As I really enjoy underwater photography, I am wondering how does one end up with a final image like the one I share below:

Unedited on the left, desired effect on the right:

Original Image After Edits

Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/CApGLcCHStN/

This edit seems to complex for Lightroom as it doesn't have a Channel Mixer so I presume the photographer used Photoshop or GIMP. There one can copy a blue/green channel and convert it to red.

In this case, it seems that the photographer is using two separate layers and adds the people separately, so that he can get a darker background.

Assuming that to get an image like the one shown above the photographer is not only using a pure picture and color grading, but editing multiple layers of underwater images and join them smoothly, how does one edit and join edited layers, from underwater images, in a subtle way?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Hi and welcome to Photo.SE! It seems to be you have already quite an idea on how to do this (convert blue/green channel to red, use Tint, use two separate layers), so I was wondering what your actual question is. Could you perhaps clarify that by editing your question? \$\endgroup\$ May 26, 2020 at 12:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ I would like to know how does one end up with an image like the one shown above after effects: Is it only pure picture and color grading, two separate layers,...? Tools/techniques to support the answer may help as well. \$\endgroup\$ May 26, 2020 at 13:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think it would be helpful if you could describe the effect in words (see this meta post as well) and edit this post accordingly. Make sure to use a descriptive title, too. Perhaps you can also show some previous research? What did you find when e.g. browsing the [underwater] tag? Thank you! \$\endgroup\$ May 26, 2020 at 16:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SaaruLindestøkke thanks a lot for sharing that meta post. I have tried to clarify what I mean by effect. If one goes deeper in the question, it seems that what I am trying to figure out is how to edit and join multiple underwater layers smoothly (like the one shown in the image above). Let me know if it is clearer. \$\endgroup\$ May 26, 2020 at 18:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, it's more clear now what your question is. I've removed some distracting parts about Lightroom editing from your question, hope that's ok. Only one thing: can you please describe in words that what you're looking for instead of just like the image below. Do you like the darkened skin tone? The conversion of green to dark blue of the surroundings? Etc... \$\endgroup\$ May 26, 2020 at 18:29

1 Answer 1


Is this only pure picture and color grading?

The image has obviously been heavily edited in Photoshop or similar.

  • The background has been entirely replaced.
  • Part of the diver's shirt has been removed.
  • The luminosity of the fins has been altered.
  • The colors in the final image have very little hue variation.

How does one end up with an image like the one shown... ?

The Channel Mixer is unlikely to be useful in this case. Techniques involved likely include:

  • "Hand coloring." – Try using color layer blending.
  • Background replacement. – Try using layer masks.
  • The usual essential photo editing tools: levels, curves, cloning, layer blending, masks, etc.

Writing a tutorial covering all of these techniques is overly expansive. There are plenty of tutorials online. Consider asking Google or YouTube.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks a lot for your help. What I want to know is parameters/techniques to consider when composing (joining smoothly) layers of edited underwater images (like the one I shared). On your answer you refere the little hue varietion, playing with the luminosity, and some more. \$\endgroup\$ May 28, 2020 at 11:44

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