Lightroom Blown Out Sky Fix! (EASY!) Saving Blown Out Sky And Clouds In Lightroom

Lightroom Blown Out Sky Fix! (EASY!)

Saving Blown Out Sky And Clouds In Lightroom

Today we’re looking at the easy way to fix a blown out sky in Lightroom. We’ve all taken photos where the light was less than ideal. Sometimes to prevent your portraits from turning into silhouettes, the sky in our photos winds up blown out and white. Luckyily, saving blown out skies is one of the things that Lightroom has some awesome tools for. Sky editing can be one of the trickiest parts of editing a photo. There are several options how to fix a blown out sky in a photo – Sky replacement is something a lot of photographers do when there is no detail left in the photo, but as of yet you can’t replace the sky in Lightroom without taking your image over to photoshop. So how do you fix a bright sky or edit the skyline to enhance the colors quickly and easily? Using the automask feature we can easily recover highlights and do all sorts of sky effects to enhance our photo. Here’s how you do it.

Lightroom Blown Out Sky Fix Tutorial Video

Fix Blown Out Sky In Lightroom Step 1 – Check to see if there is detail left.

Before we go to the trouble of trying to pull the detail back out of blown out white skies and clouds, its important to first check whether there even IS any detail there. You can fix a blown out sky in Lightroom only if the original photo has enough color information saved to rescue. If you shot in RAW, odds are good you’ve got some detail available. If you shot in jpg, there might not be anything you can do to fix the blown out sky other than heading into photoshop for a sky replacement.

To check if there is still detail in your photo, just grab your exposure slider and pull it WAY down. If the sky starts to show clouds / color, great news! You can recover the blown out sky in Lightroom. If the sky stays white / grey doesn’t seem to have any color or texture, or just looks BAD, you might be better off replacing the sky in photoshop.

Once our subjects are properly exposed, the sky is VERY washed out in our photo.

recover blown out sky in lightroom fixPulling back the exposure reveals that the detail has not been lost in the sky!

Once you know whether you can save the sky in your photo, move to the next step.


Blown Out Sky Fix Lightroom Step 2 – Create An Adjustment Layer

Using the adjustment brush tool is the easiest way to mask out the sky. In order to lower the exposure and rescue detail from a blown out sky we’re going to need to edit it separately from the rest of your image. You COULD just draw the mask on manually, but this is a LOT of work and might even be impossible if your photo has a lot of detailed edges / texture. The best method is going to using the auto mask feature of the adjustment brush, and getting Lightroom to automatically mask out the sky for you. Set the size of the brush all the way up, and then zoom out the view of your photo so that you can cover the entire image with a single click.

adjustment brush lightroom blown out sky fix

Lightroom Blown Out Sky Fix Step 3 – Mask Out The Sky

Once you’ve created your adjustment brush and zoomed out, click on the area of the image you want to mask out (The sky). Because your brush is covering the entire photo, Lightroom will automatically mask out everything with a similar brightness + color range within the entire image. Sometimes one click is all it takes, other times you might have to click a couple different sample spots of sky until everything is selected the way you want.

Lightroom Blown Out Sky Fix Step 3 - Mask Out The SkyBlown Out Sky Fix Lightroom Step 4 – Refine Your Mask

Now that Lightroom has done the hard work for you, you can finesse your mask in any instances Lightroom has selected something you don’t want. I like to grab my adjustment brush “B” and use it as a smaller double checking brush, going over the non detailed portions of the mask a second time for good measure in case the auto mask missed any pixels. Then I hold down alt on my keyboard to erase anything from the mask that shouldn’t be there.

Blown Out Sky Fix Lightroom Step 4 - Refine Your MaskLightroom Blown Out Sky Fix Step 5 – Recover + Enhance With Your Chosen Effects!

The hard part is over. Once your mask is settled, you can adjust settings as necessary. For blown out highlights take the exposure down until things look ideal. For increased color try adding contrast, dehaze or saturation. For blue sky effect in Lightroom a great trick is to take the adjustment layer white balance down a little towards blue – This will add blue to the sky.

Blown Out Sky Fix Lightroom Step 6 – Repeat!

By now you know how easy it is to enhance and fix blown out sky in Lightroom. Once you get the hang of it, it takes no time at all. Now you can fix the sky on any image in Lightroom!

For a more thorough tutorial, make sure to watch our Easy Blown Out Sky Fix Lightroom Tutorial above!

And for an IN DEPTH look at auto mask in Lightroom, watch our Lightroom auto mask tutorial now!