Landscape photographers know that the sky in a scene can make or break a photo. Soft billowing clouds make for compelling imagery, as do dark, threatening skies that evoke a dramatic sense of doom.
But what does one do upon arriving on location, only to confront a featureless blue sky? One solution is replacing the boring sky with another that’s more interesting, but that approach can be difficult and may deliver unrealistic results. Today we’re bringing you an easier technique using one simple method in Lightroom.
Instructor mark Denney is an accomplished landscape photographer and a self-proclaimed “post-processing nerd.” In the straightforward tutorial below he walks you through an effective editing technique that works wonders when Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate and you’re faced with an uninspiring sky devoid of detail, explosive color, mood, or drama.
Denney says, “The one simple method in this video can be a real game changer,” and after viewing his results we’re pretty sure you’ll agree. His approach is all about improving Lightroom sky masks, and it’s very easy to accomplish.
Denney’s goal with this lesson is to help you rehabilitate landscape photographs with “the dreaded blue sky” that can ruin photos of an otherwise great scene. He also discusses a common occurrence that occurs in the field when a sky looks pretty good through the viewfinder, but all that interesting stuff is missing when you review the image on a computer.
Denney says that what he reveals in today’s Lightroom lesson is, “An incredible technique for bringing back detail and drama in a powerful-yet-realistic way.” He demonstrates how it’s done using a b&w seascape photo captured recently during one of his workshops in Norway.
As you’ll see, the raging waves are very dramatic, as is a snow-covered peak in the distance, but the sky really needs some work. Denney’s quick fix doesn’t involve swapping out the sky, but rather using a bit of masking to accentuate details that are already in the shot.
By following his advice you be able to transform ho-hum photos into really spectacular images. You can find more great tips and tricks like this by paying a visit to Denney’s popular YouTube channel.
And don’t miss our earlier post with the second installment in a free Lightroom masterclass that explains everything you need to know about using masks.