Want to replace a sky like a Boss!?!

We have all been down this road. We go to a place that is gorgeous, on our bucket list. We have visions of amazing sunrises, beautiful cloudy afternoons, and sunsets that just won’t stop making you drool. However, when we get there we have boring pale blue skies and sunsets that just don’t mystify. So what do we do?

We drop our ethics for a moment and replace the sky. We watch a YouTube video and forget it ever happened and if someone ever says, “Wow that is an amazing picture, lucky you with the clouds.” We graciously say, “Thank you and tell them the truth under our breath as we slowly walk away”.

The truth is, I have no qualms with replacing a sky within reason. If the sky is boring I may replace it with clouds that are serene, but only if the time periods are similar.

For instance, I would never put a bolt of lightning in a picture that was taken on a sunny day that would look silly. Nor would I place a sunset in a picture that was taken on a sunny day at 2 PM with harsh shadows.

In this tutorial I am going to show you how to not only replace a sky, but also fix the reflections of the sky on water and show you how to match the color temperatures perfectly!

Quick Tips from this tutorial:

  1. You can replace a sky at anytime in your workflow.
  2. Avoid replacing skies with mismatching times of day unless you are very good with Photoshop!  That is a tutorial all on its own!
  3. Use Clipping Masks to help blend and match the exposure and color temperature of the new sky being brought in with the original scene.
  4. If the scene has a reflection of the sky on water, duplicate the sky layer, flip it vertically and blend it in the water with Masking and a Soft Light Blending Option.
  5. You can move a layer independently from its mask if you click the link between them.  The mask will remain in place and the layer can be moved freely around.  This is useful when you want to move




Like the style of this tutorial?  You will LOVE HDR Insider!  Full-Length HDR Workflows, Critiques & More!

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Blake Rudis
f.64 Academy and f.64 Elite are the brainchildren of Blake Rudis. While he is a landscape photographer, he is most passionate about post-processing images in Photoshop and mentoring others.

For Blake, it's all about the art and process synergy. He dives deep into complex topics and makes them easy to understand through his outside-the-box thinking so that you can use these tricks in your workflow today!
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