How to Replace Sky in Photoshop – Requirements:
Software: Adobe Photoshop, Photoshop Elements or similar software
System requirements: Windows PC or Mac
Skill required: Medium
Time to complete: 30 minutes
We previously explained how it was possible to use a Levels adjustment layer to mask an image so that only the foreground could be lightened. This time, I’m going to show how the same technique can be used to create a cutout so that a new sky can be inserted into an image.
I took the original image (above) at the beginning of 2009 in New York; in fact, it was the very first picture I took as I left the hotel. As much as I like it, though, I feel it lacks a little impact. While the sky is a fantastic shade of blue, the lack of clouds creates a void at the top of the image.
However, it is a fairly simple task to cut out the buildings and replace the sky with a more interesting one. The key, though, is to find a sympathetic sky image to use as a replacement. Some skies just won’t work if they don’t match the way the rest of the image is lit.
The replacement sky I have used was in fact photographed in Malta a few months previously. I remember thinking that it might come in handy to have a nice image of a blue sky with some fluffy white clouds. So the next time you’re out with your camera, look up and photograph the sky from a few different angles. You never know when it might come in useful.