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Lightroom sky recovery

Discussion in 'Digital Image Editing & Printing' started by Bazarchie, Oct 11, 2019.

  1. Bazarchie

    Bazarchie Well-Known Member

    We have just returned from a holiday on the Devon/Cornwall border where the sky was mainly grey other than a few hours when the sun appeared. I probably should have left the camera in the bag but as I wanted some record of where we visited I took some shots. Straight out of the camera they look drab with flat light, but using Lightroom’s grad filter and some other adjustments they look OK so not a straight delete. This is where I struggle as I do not like over processing. In reality the sky was grey, there were no clouds and no blue. I am not replacing the sky but enhancing it considerably.

    I suppose as I am only doing this for my benefit it does not matter. If I had more time I would revisit the locations when the light was better, but I do not have that luxury.

    I would be interested to know where others draw the line with processing landscape photos.
  2. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    You can usually see if there is anything in the sky by dropping the overall exposure slider. If there is then I put the slider back and add a grad. Whether it is hard or soft depends in the scene. The ability to mask on luminance is useful. The erase brush is also helpful to trim the mask. I'll try exposure and highlight sliders in various combinations. Basically take the adjustments as far as looks credible then back off. Look at it again a day later. If the sky is featureless then you are just choosing your shade of grey. If there is something there then play with contrast/clarity as well as exposure/highlight exposure/luminosity mask.
    peterba and Bazarchie like this.
  3. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    I do whatever I feel like until I like the results [1]. There's no purity requirement here, it's not journalism, it's art.

    [1] I'm terrible at landscapes, so that usually means I just bin them, and that's when I like them most, but you get my point.
    peterba and Bazarchie like this.
  4. peterba

    peterba Well-Known Member

    I agree with the comments above - and, in particular, this comment by Pete:-

    Once you've processed to a point at which you think the image looks how you want it to look, move away from the computer. Do something else, and just forget about the image and its processing. Return at a later time, with (as it were) 'fresh' eyes.

    If you over-cooked it in the previous editing session, it'll be very obvious!
  5. Zou

    Zou Well-Known Member

    I try to ensure I retain the brightness in the grey sky, whilst bringing back just enough texture/form in the cloud so it doesn't look overdone. The problem with grads is getting the balance right - I see too many pictures of detailed dark skies above curiously well-lit foregrounds.

    Ultimately though it's about what you are happy with. I'd echo the suggestion above to revisit later as with many adjustments, more looks better, and dialing back looks worse, but with fresh eyes you just know immediately if you went too far initially.
  6. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    It would be easier to express an opinion if we saw these holiday snaps.
  7. Bazarchie

    Bazarchie Well-Known Member

    Theoretical question.

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