3 Easy Steps to Make Your Skies Pop in Lightroom

The put up 3 Simple Steps to Make Your Skies Pop in Lightroom appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jim Hamel.

3 simple steps to make your skies pop in Lightroom

You {photograph} a scene that features a lovely blue sky with puffy white clouds. You’re excited – till you look down at your LCD, solely to see that the sky your digital camera captured is not what you see in entrance of you. It’s washed out. It has little or no element. It seems overexposed, colorless, and actually, actually boring. So what do you do?

Right here’s the excellent news:

You may repair this downside each shortly and simply in Lightroom. And also you don’t have to be a post-processing wizard to make it occur.

In truth, there are three enhancing steps you need to use to make your daytime skies pop. Every step is useless easy, and you are able to do simply one of many steps, or you are able to do all three collectively.

Even when your sky already seems fairly good, these steps will assist! Right here’s a teaser of what it’ll do on your images (with the unedited picture on the left and the edited picture on the appropriate):

Photo of Big Sur: Example of sky enhancement using Lightroom

So if you happen to’re prepared to enhance your skies in Lightroom, then let’s get began!

1. Darken the blues

Right here’s step one to enhancing a sky:

Darkening the blues.

That is easy to do within the HSL/Color panel in Lightroom’s Develop module. You’ll see quite a lot of sliders that management particular person colours – and you may modify the hue, saturation, and luminance (brightness) of every colour.

So discover the Blue slider. Bear in mind, the objective is to cut back the brightness of simply the blue tones.

Then click on on Luminance:

HSL/Color/B&W panel in Lightroom's Develop Module

And pull the Blue slider to the left.

How a lot do you have to modify the Blue slider? Truthfully, there’s no set quantity or vary of values for this alteration; it’ll simply rely on every image. However I don’t advocate making the blues too darkish (in any other case, the sky will begin to look unnatural).

When you’ve made your Luminance adjustment, you might wish to add extra punch to the blues. So click on on Saturation and push the Blue slider to the appropriate. This can intensify the blues even additional and provides your luminance adjustment extra chew.

By now, you must see a dramatic enchancment in your sky. Generally, adjusting the blues is all you want to do!

Photo taken from Seven Mile Bridge in the Florida Keys: Example of sky enhancement using Lightroom

Observe: As talked about above, watch out to not go too far. Adjusting the blues too closely may cause banding (i.e., separation of the colours into stripes) and different types of picture degradation. 

2. Management the highlights

You could be questioning:

Why didn’t we begin by firming down the highlights? In any case, that will deal with lots of the washed-out areas of the sky.

The reality is that a part of what makes a sky look nice is deep, wealthy, blue tones mixed with shiny white clouds. When you crank down the highlights, sure, you’ll add element to the clouds – however you’ll push the tones of the blues and whites collectively in order that there received’t be the sturdy distinction you need.

That’s why we began by darkening the blue tones.

By the best way, after darkening the blues, take a cautious take a look at your picture. If there’s ample element within the clouds, you don’t must get well the brilliant areas additional. In truth, you might even wish to enhance the Whites or the Highlights to create extra distinction between the blue sky and the white clouds.

Different instances, nevertheless, your sky will nonetheless be too shiny and the clouds will lack element (even after adjusting the blues). If that’s the case on your picture, it’s time to tone down the brightest parts of the picture by flattening the highlights.

Highlights control in Basic panel of Lightroom's develop module

Right here, you wish to add element to the sky, however not a lot that your clouds flip grey. Let the histogram be your information. Pull the Highlights slider to the left till there aren’t any histogram peaks urgent up towards the right-hand aspect of the graph.

Ideally, you’ll get an impact like this:

Photo of Lighthouse on Sanibel Island, Florida: Example of sky enhancement using Lightroom

3. Add a blue tint to the sky

At this level, your sky ought to be trying superb. In truth, generally, the 2 steps shared above ought to be all you want to make your sky pop.

In case you have a very flat and lifeless sky, nevertheless, you might wish to convey out the large weapons: including a tint.

To do that, you’ll want the Adjustment Brush. (By the best way, you need to use the Adjustment Brush for both of the 2 steps above, however you often received’t must.)

So click on on the Adjustment Brush icon:

Adjustment brush and tint controls in Basic panel of Lightroom's develop module

Then discover the Temp slider and drag it to the left. This can enhance the quantity of blue within the picture – however solely in locations you paint together with your brush.

Earlier than you paint on the sky, there’s one essential factor you want to do:

Ensure that the Auto Mask field on the backside of the Adjustment Brush panel is checked. This can restrict the comb to the sky in order that it doesn’t bleed over into midground or foreground objects. As soon as Auto Masks is checked, go forward and brush within the impact!

After you’ve brushed the related areas of the picture, you’ll be able to at all times enhance or lower the blue tint by transferring the Temp slider. You’ll find yourself with a wonderful blue sky!

Photo of the Portland Head Light: Example of sky enhancement using Lightroom

When do you have to modify your sky with Lightroom?

You are able to do a lot to boost a sky in Lightroom.

However the previous adage about getting it proper in-camera nonetheless applies. Attempt to get your sky trying nearly as good as potential within the discipline with correct publicity strategies. And when you’ve got a polarizing filter, think about using it; the impact will make a noon sky look significantly better. You may also work with a graduated neutral density filter to tone down the sky and assist stability it with the foreground.

Generally, with the right strategies, you received’t even want Lightroom to enhance a sky. However there may even be instances whenever you simply can’t get it trying proper, otherwise you make a mistake within the discipline (e.g., you unintentionally overexpose the sky).

And that’s whenever you’ll wish to use the steps I’ve mentioned above.

So the subsequent time your sky isn’t trying its finest, strive utilizing Lightroom to realize the impact you’re after. Observe the three steps I shared – alongside your regular workflow – to create breathtaking skies!

Photo of Monument Valley: Example of sky enhancement with Lightroom.

Enhancing skies in Lightroom: last phrases

Lightroom provides some highly effective sky enhancement instruments – and now that you simply’ve completed this text, you know the way to make use of them for nice outcomes.

So discover some images that embody washed-out skies. And follow bettering them with Lightroom! Fairly quickly, you’ll be a sky-editing grasp.

The put up 3 Simple Steps to Make Your Skies Pop in Lightroom appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jim Hamel.

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