Blue skies may be pretty but at times they can seem so elusive. If you work in natural light, properly exposing for your subject can sometimes mean overexposing and, therefore, sacrificing those pretty skies. Another situation may be that you live in an area like I do where grey and overcast skies are in the forecast far too often.
I am going to show you in some very simple steps one way to recreate blue skies in your photos when they are blown out or lacking.
Step One: Place Sky Image on Your Photo
First I open the photo I want to edit in Photoshop as well as the sky image I will be using. This particular sky image is one from a series of photos I took on a rare sunny winter day and saved for this purpose. With the sky photo selected, navigate to the top menu bar and click Window>Arrange> and scroll down to Float in Window.
Next place your move tool over your sky photo. Click and drag your sky photo over to the image you want to edit and drop it on by releasing your mouse.
Now you can re-size and adjust your sky image to fit in the area where you want your sky to appear by using the move tool. Be sure the box “Show Transform Controls” is checked so you can make your adjustments.
When you are adjusting the size of your sky image also make sure it is slightly past the horizon line. Click the move tool again and a little box will appear. Click “Apply Transformation.”
Step 2 : Blend the Horizon
First, lower the opacity of your sky layer so you can see where the sky will meet the horizon line.
Now take your eraser tool using a lower opacity and 0% hardness and erase along the horizon line. This may take you a few tries to get the opacity setting just right. I normally prefer to use a lower setting and go over the area a couple of times if needed with the eraser tool to blend things well. In this case my opacity stayed around 70%. You may also want to zoom in on your image while editing by using the magnifying glass tool.
Once you feel you are happy with your horizon line you can then go back and increase the opacity of your sky to your liking.
Step 3: Process and Save
Once I have finished these steps I then apply my signature processing and save my finished image.
So there you have it. A little trick on how to get those fabulous blue skies when there are none!
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