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Dash of Inspiration – Blue Skies

February 20, 2012

A Dash of Inspiration, A Cup of Creativity by Doreen

Blue Skies

Artist’s who paint can create the sky in their paintings any way they wish; in rich blue hues or deep stormy grays, but photographers must make a decision at the time of capture as to what they ultimately wish to portray.

To the human eye the sky should be blue on a sunny day, not white and washed out. Professional photographers know that regardless of what the sky looks like on any given day while out shooting, the final ‘print’ needs to be rich in color and contrast in order to attract attention.

When out taking photographs where sky will be included, ask yourself this; “Am I taking this photograph to document the area, therefore using it in journalism, or am I taking this photograph to use creatively on greeting cards, calendars, and/or prints to frame?”  If the answer is for use in journalism, then capture the sky as is and you’ve done your job.  If the answer is to use it to sell as an artistic rendering of the moment, then a sky without color, whether sunny or stormy, is simply not marketable.  The average customer will not be drawn to a photograph with a ‘washed out sky’ (a sky with no detail and little to no color).

So today I thought I’d share some links to help the photographers out there to both improve the sky during capture and when necessary how to punch it up in post processing.  There are so many ways to improve a weak sky, you are sure to find methods that suit your style.

This first link is to an article I wrote a couple years ago on Traditional Camera Filter Recommendations for use on the camera when out shooting and also a link on how to properly use a Polarizing Filter.

DSLR Tips: Using polarizing filters video tutorial by: CameraLabs

card by: M Brandes at Photography by Melissa Brandes

Post-processing is always an option for old photographs and for those occasions when you simply could not improve the sky during capture.  If your exposure was calculated well enough that you actually captured the detail in the sky even though it appears washed out, you can bring those details out; and for the really tough cases, you can even replace the sky entirely through post-processing methods.  Below are some tutorials and goodies to make your skies really pop.  Many professional photographers, myself included, also have the Topaz Labs bundle which makes many of these types of tedious tasks a breeze. So if you are interested, they have 30-day trial offers and you may choose individual plug-ins, so look them up.

Enhancing The Sky In A Photo Tutorial by

Intensify A Dull Sky Tutorial by PSHero

How to Replace a Sky in Photoshop by Helen Bradley at Digital Photography School

21 Realistic Sky Gradients by

I hope I’ve inspired you to explore how you can get your gray skies to clear up!


3 Comments leave one →
  1. Lj Maxx permalink
    February 22, 2012 3:39 pm

    A very important ‘must read’ post Doreen . Love the Gradients you shared too~
    Thanks~ 🙂

  2. February 23, 2012 12:50 am

    Thanks Lj! Glad you enjoyed and thanks for stopping by!

  3. March 29, 2013 7:10 pm

    The link above for Traditional Camera Filters has been moved to:

    Sorry for the inconvenience.

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