Adding a sky in Photoshop

Hey guys!

Tutorial time!  People always ask me how I make my skies in the photos I take so vibrant and while I’d like to tell them, “I’m just awesome like that”  I’m going to let you all in on a little secret…. sometimes my skies aren’t always totally real…  SHOCK!  I KNOW!  I definitely

I’ve put together a small tutorial to demonstrate how I replace sky in photoshop.  For this tutorial you’ll want a basic knowledge of Photoshop, particularly with Layers and Layer Masks.

Alright, here we go.  Here’s how to go from blah to WOW sky!  There’s an accompanying video at the end of this post to help out!

Before:

photoshop-tutorial-replace-sky-before

After:

photoshop-tutorial-replace-sky-after

 

1.  Open up both the photo you’d like to replace the sky in, and the sky photo you’ll be using to replace the sky.

2.  With the [Move Tool(V)] selected, hold down the [Shift] key and drag your sky photo onto the main photo you’ll be working in

3.  With your sky layer now chosen, hit [Cmd+T](Mac) or [Ctrl+T](PC) to Transform the sky layer.  Resize the photo by holding down [Shift+Option](Mac) or [Shift+Alt](PC) and selecting a corner of the layer with your cursor.  Now drag to resize.  When you’re finished, double click the photo or select the check mark at the top right of the screen.

photoshop-tutorial-replace-sky-1

4.  To make the sky look natural we need to gradually fade the sky in from the horizon.  Select your sky layer and add a Layer Mask by selecting the Layer Mask button at the bottom of the layers palette. Make sure your layer mask is White (Reveal All) and that your foreground and background colors are set to Foreground Black, Background White.  Next, select the Gradient Tool(G).

photoshop-tutorial-replace-sky-3

5.  From the bottom your photo drag your gradient up to just past the middle of your photo.  Continue this process until horizon line looks natural.

6.  Select the Brush Tool(B), use a very large soft brush, with the Layer Mask on the Sky Layer still selected, continue to work on making the horizon look natural.

7.  Select the Sky Layer and go to Filter>Blur>Lens Blur.  Try to match the bokeh of the original image as best as possible.

8.  Apply any color corrections as necessary.  I used Curves, and a Black & White layer that I overlayed to bring a bit more drama to the colors, as well as a Hue/Saturation layer to desaturate the colors slightly.

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