How to Edit the Sky in Lightroom

Do you have photos you like but a lot of it is taken up by the sky, which is just a bland overexposed void? In this blogpost, I’m going to tell you how to bring back definition and colour into and overexposed sky. I’m gonna show you how you can take a photo like this:

To this:

Ok let’s get started!

Step 1: Selection

First you’ll have to use the selection tool to select the sky. Here I used the rectangular tool, luckily I have quite a straight edge, where the sky ends. If you have buildings or something in front, make sure you cover the whole sky then use the eraser tool to remove the selection from anything else. This does take a bit of patience! If you can’t get a precise edge it’s better for the selection to run over a bit rather than leaving a bit of the sky unselected as the edit will be more noticeable.

Step 2: Exposure

Now you’ll need to pull the exposure down slightly. Use your judgement on how much, take it all the way and back to see what looks best! Sometimes you’ll see definition/clouds appearing where you couldn’t see any! You don’t want it to be too dark, but dark enough to see more definition.

Step 3: Definition

Now we’re going to play around with the texture some more. You’re going to increase the dehaze slightly, which will bring out more definition and deepen the colours. Then because I want a softer look to the sky, I’m going to decrease the texture and clarity to smooth and blur the colours. However if you have a sky photo with clouds that you want to look dramatic, you can just increase the dehaze, this will define the clouds. But experiment with the texture, even slightly decreasing it can give a soft feel to the sky!

STEP 4: Colour

Now comes the fun part! We get to add some colour to your sky! You have to decide on the aesthetic you want to go for with your photo. Do you want a warm sunset glow? Or more of an understated minimal feel? If you’re not sure, play around with the colours! For this photo I wanted warm colours, so I brought the temperature way up to add yellow/orange hues. Then I also brought the tint way up to add pink colours. This completely transforms the sky from boring to the focal point of the photo! It took quite a bit of adjusting the temperature and tint to find the right balance!

Already it’s looking so much more interesting than before! Now it’s time to edit the rest of the photo. Now you can do this before editing the sky if you prefer. I like having a frame to work off of. Now I know my sky is orange/pink, I need to make the rest of my image match so it looks realistic. I will quickly run through how I edited the rest of the image.

Step 5: Edit the rest

I started off with basic edits and a soft s curve. I also slightly adjusted the blue and red curves to make the image warmer. I then added a slight pink tint and warmer temperature to make it looks like the sky’s lighting is bouncing off the sea and me. I also adjusted the blues, making them more aqua and increasing the luminance so they’re not too overpowering. I adjusted the hue and luminance of the pinks and yellows to get the sky exactly where I wanted and also to match the rest of the image.

And then the final image we end up with is this:

I also did something similar with this photo:, I took it from this:

To this:

View this post on Instagram

“If the ocean can calm itself, so can you. We are both saltwater mixed with air.” ~ Nayyira Waheed I’m so happy that we’re now allowed to walk along the beach 🌊 when everything is so uncertain, being by the sea calms me 😌. It was a bit too cold and windy for me to have a swim yet. But apparently the temperatures are gonna soar to 40° by next week 😅 so I think summer is arriving early this year 🌞 and I’m excited for a proper swim in the sea! What are you excited about? Just in general…? 😁 #mediterranean #meditation #mediterraneansea #beachbum #beach #sea #seasalt #saltypresets #salty #saltyair #calm #calming #peace #peaceful #mentalhealth #mentalhealthawareness #bluewater #blue #relax #relaxing #cypruspassion #quotes #quoteoftheday #meditationquotes #photomagic #photoinspiration #photography #ocean #oceanside #anastasiaskosmos

A post shared by A N A S T A S I A | ✈️ + 📸 (@anastasias.kosmos) on

Except I left the sky a bit more subtle with this one. I actually started off by applying a preset (@saltypresets on instagram) and then I highlighted and edited the sky myself. I decided not to change the edit of the rest of the image because I really like the contrast of cool blues with the pinky orange tinge in the sky!

Photo editing isn’t an exact science, you have to use your judgement and there’s a lot of back and forth before finding the right balance and creating your final image! Take some photos and just practise! Experiment with different styles!

Make sure you follow me on Instagram for more @anastasias.kosmos and tag me in your edits!


Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: