Simple Way to Enhance Gray Skies

Those of you that of taken my classes, know that I like to use various techniques to make the skies better than they were when I took the photo.

And in this post I’m going to explain one of the simplest ways. The results are often quite good when applied to the right photo.

The example here is of the old Nike site in Palos Verdes. You can see it was a very gray day.

Here are the steps I did in Photoshop Elements to go from the gray skies to something that looks like I probably took the photo in middle of a day sunny day.

  1. Since it’s a RAW image, I opened in Adobe Camera Raw, adjusted Contrast, Clarity and the Vibrance a bit to make the foreground have a bit more snap.
  2. I then opened it in the Expert Editor workspace in Photoshop Elements.
  3. I then selected the sky using the Quick Selection Brush, which was quite easy since the sky is such a uniform gray.
  4. I copied the Sky to its own layer using Ctrl+J.
  5. I Ctrl-Clicked on the sky thumbnail  in the layers palette so that I could get back to arching ants.
  6. I selected the selected a suitable color of light blue from the color swatch at the bottom of the  Toolbox.
  7. Using the Paint Bucket Tool, I painted the entire selected area on the Sky layer with the chosen color of blue
  8. I added a layer mask to the sky layer. This had the foreground masked out – painted black.
  9. I selected the Linear Gradient Tool with the gradient going from black to white.
  10. With the shift key held down and making sure the mask was selected on the active sky layer, I dragged the mouse from the top of the image to the bottom.

This gave me the effect that I wanted for the sky. I then flattened image, so I could save it as a JPEG.

Improved Sky - LIn Gradient

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