Bring Back the Sky
Sometimes when you’re shooting with subjects in the foreground and the blue cloudy sky in background, it’s hard to take a photo whereby both the foreground and the background are sufficiently exposed.
That’s the case with this photo below. Shooting in RAW mode, I exposed for the sky so that I could maintain its detail. As you can see, though, the bride and groom are under exposed. But the power RAW mode enables you to work with under exposed photos a lot better than in shooting in JPEG mode.
When I correct the exposure for the foreground subjects, I loose detail in the sky. As you can see in this photo. So what to do?
1. Well, in Aperture or Lightroom, make a duplicate copy of darker exposed sky photo. While selected, you darken the sky even more if need be. Next, select the other copy of the photo and properly expose it for the foreground. You will lose detail in the sky, but that’s the point. You’re wanting bring detail in the foreground in this copy of the photo. Use adjustment tools (e.g. contrast, Definition, Vibrancy) that you normally use to make the foreground subjects look the way you want.
2. Next, open both photos in Photoshop. Holding down the shift key, select the background layer, in the layers palette, of the lighter/over exposed sky photo, and drag it onto the darker exposed sky photo. After doing so, you should see the lighter sky photo on top, with the well exposed foreground.
3. Now click the Layer Mask button at the bottom of the layer’s palette. This will put a layer mask over the photo you just dragged in. Select the Brush tool, and make sure your foreground color is black. Using the brush tool, at about medium size, start brushing back in the darker sky, leaving the rest of the photo as is.
Presto, you now have brought back the darker sky to match the better foreground. You can flatten both layers and save the photo back to Aperture or Lightroom. The other opened photo of course doesn’t have to be saved. And here’s the result:
I hope these instructions make sense. If not, I’d be happy to make a video of the process.Related Tips: