White balance on underwater images

I am noticing what seems to be a challenging problem. I shoot underwater, so the red gets filtered out by the water a lot. My dive light is a white light. Setting my white balance properly for the image (i.e. brings more red back), results in the beam of my light and anything my light illuminates to appear shifted pink/red. Any suggestions?

Example image here. See how the particles in the water look pink and the halo around the patch of sand where the light falls?

Some info here:

You will find more if you use the forum search utility…

Have fun!
Claes in Lund, Sweden

I feel like Rawtherapee has an underwater setting or preset. I can’t check at the moment but you could see what kind of adjustments it makes…as well as result and or share one of you files here and see how others might handle it??

Could it be less red lost closer to the light so that your wb boosts red more in the light vs rest of the image??

certainly could be. Just not sure what to do about it without throwing off the colors in the rest of the image

You may want to try dehazing. Underwater colour balance usually comes from a modified version of that. Maybe:

  1. Colour adjustment to prepare for dehaze
  2. Dehaze
  3. More colour adjustment

These are the two settings…take from it what you may…



How about putting a blue-green gel filter over the dive light?

You could experiment with a colour chart. Photograph it in daylight, then underwater with ambient light, then with the dive light. Figure out the adjustments to make the underwater photos look like the daylight photo. You could use a home-made chart with acrylic paint on plastic.

You should try color balance module with masking

I have struggled with getting the whitebalance right on underwater pictures, especially when there is a combination of natural light and artificial light. So you are not alone :slight_smile:

I don’t think you can ever get this picture completely right in processing (but prove me wrong!), because the beam is so narrow. You need a much broader beam, sort of flood light type for underwater pics.