Post Processing » Fixing the Sky with Adobe Photoshop
Have you ever taken a shot of a beautiful nature scene, only to find that the sky is lacking detail or just overexposed and washed out altogether? Read on and reclaim the sky (or create a new one!).
Here's the quick and easy version:
Open your photo in Adobe Photoshop (I’m using CS5). Note that throughout this article you can click on any of the screenshots to enlarge them.
This sky is pretty boring. I’ll select the sky portion of the image quickly with the Rectangular Marquee Tool.
Create a new layer via the Adjustment Layer button at the bottom of the Layers palette.
Pick Selective Color from the drop down list.
In the next image you can see the new layer with the Selective Color option, in this example I have chosen whites as the color base for my adjustment.
Next I’ll adjust the sliders as shown to come up with a reasonable looking base color for my new sky.
I realize it's pretty odd looking at the moment, but hopefully my next adjustment will take care of it. I’ll go to the Filters menu and from the Render option choose Clouds.
My first result:
You can keep on experimenting with the adjustment sliders or combine them with Difference Clouds from the Render menu for some well, different clouds. I have used the latter option to create the effect in the next image.
Here is my final result. Compared to the original at the top of this article I think you'll agree that it is quite an improvement, bringing brightness and visual interest to the image:
I hope you noticed that during this process I never did any fine selection work around the trees, all the detail is still there down to the last twig. You can be pretty creative with colors and some of the other filters that work with this technique. You could, for example use Motion Blur from the Blur Filter to put some wind behind your clouds. Experiment and have fun with this, you’ll be surprised with the photos that you can salvage or make more interesting.