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How to Create Dramatic Skies in Photoshop

Properly post-processing the sky can be what really sends an action shot, environmental portrait, or landscape image over the top. This quick tutorial will help you create compelling skies that complement your scenery.

Living in Cleveland is mostly cool: we have great food, a lot of cultural institutions, and amazing sports. The one drawback is that I live in the London of the Americas. Cloudy days interminably abound. I'm not a huge fan of swapping skies, so I've learned to plan around and embrace the gray in my work, which is why I found this tutorial so helpful, particularly since it works with moody clouds to achieve the effect. In it, you'll learn how to use the "Blend If" feature of Photoshop to selectively apply adjustments to different areas of an image depending on the content contained in it, a very useful tool in many situations. The result takes a rather dreary gray sky and turns it into a moody backdrop without much work, greatly elevating the final product. 

If you're interested in learning more about creating compelling landscape photography, be sure to check out "Photographing the World: Landscape Photography and Post-Processing with Elia Locardi" in our store. 

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7 Comments

Allan Savage's picture

"... I live the London of the Americas." Classic.

Alex Cooke's picture

But we have LeBron, so it all works out. ;)

g coll's picture

Who/What is LeBron?

g coll's picture

I know mate, just a bit of sarcasm ;)

Alex Cooke's picture

My bad. You gave me an excuse to watch game 7 for the 200th time anyway. :P

Brian Schmittgens's picture

I usually like Phlearn videos, but that was 25 minutes to say dodge and burn the sky and add a solid color layer above it.