Yet Another Way to Improve a Sky


There are a many ways to darken a sky to make it more dramatic. That’s good, because they often show up in your photos as something less than hoped we for or remembered, being too bright and lacking color.

This technique is somewhat different and does require Photoshop. It is not possible to use it with Photoshop Elements. Fortunately, there are many other techniques that work well with Elements. Here are the steps.

  1. Open the image in Photoshop.
  2. Duplicate the background layer – always a good idea.
  3. Make a black and white adjustment layer.
  4. Adjust the color sliders as desired to darken the sky. Usually, the blue and the cyan sliders have the biggest effect.
  5. Change the Blending Mode of the B&W Adjustment Layer to Darken. You will probably see some color coming back in the non-blue areas.
  6. Reduce the layer’s Opacity to 40-50%. If you go too far, the sky quickly returns to its original brightness.
  7. At this point I may often add a Vibrance or Saturation Adjustment Layer to further enhance the sky. Also, in some photos, adjusting the other sliders in the Black and White Adjustment Layer will add additional impact to the photo.

Dark Blend mode Ex

As you can see from the comparison here, the change is subtle, but effective. In this photo the water was also affected.

I learned about this technique from www.postprocessingmastery.com. It is worth checking out this site to learn more about this techniques as well as others.

Try it out on some of your photos and share them in the comments below.

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