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

Let’s unpack it together in this photography tutorial.

Home / Photography Tutorials / 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

[powerkit_collapsibles ]
[powerkit_collapsible title=”Video Transcript”]
[AUTO GENERATED]
hey guys Ryan here at signature edits
00:02
and today I’m going to show you how to
00:04
fix a blown out sky and add sky effects
00:06
inside of Lightroom
00:08
[Music]
00:14
alright so sky editing can be one of the
00:17
trickiest parts of editing a photo
00:19
there’s so many options how you can fix
00:21
a blown out sky in Lightroom the sky
00:24
replacement is something a lot of
00:25
photographers do when there’s just no
00:27
detail left in the photo but as of yet
00:29
you can’t actually replace this guy in
00:31
Lightroom without taking your image over
00:33
to Photoshop so how do you fix a bright
00:35
sky or fix and edit the skyline to
00:38
enhance the colors quickly and easily
00:40
that’s a question that we’re gonna look
00:42
at today using the auto mask feature we
00:44
can easily recover highlights and do all
00:46
sorts of sky effects to enhance our
00:48
photos here’s how you do it first things
00:53
first we’re going to make a new
00:55
adjustment brush we’re going to set the
00:57
size all the way to max our feather down
00:59
minimally and our flow to 100 and then
01:02
we’re going to check this little Auto
01:04
mask box what that’s going to do is
01:05
allow Lightroom to automatically create
01:07
your masks for you and save a ton of
01:09
time especially if you’ve got some
01:11
complicated textures and details that
01:13
you need to mask out like these trees
01:14
here for instance then we’re going to
01:16
zoom out in our photos so that our mask
01:18
brush adjustment brush can cover the
01:20
entire photo the reason for this is
01:22
we’re now going to make a sample of a
01:24
particular part of the sky and Lightroom
01:26
using that one sample we’ll click it
01:28
once on the photo is going to
01:30
automatically grab all of the color
01:33
information and brightness information
01:34
that looks like it’s related to that one
01:36
little sample now I can actually grab
01:38
this and move it around to different
01:40
parts of the image and Lightroom will
01:41
again automatically find the different
01:43
areas of the image that again match up
01:46
with this point so if I click again in a
01:48
different area now it’s going to sample
01:51
from both the colors like this and the
01:53
colors down in here so I’m just going to
01:55
do that a couple of times and click on
01:56
my sky here like that and as you can see
01:59
it’s automatically filling in and
02:02
selecting the areas that I’m clicking
02:05
now I click too far and it accidentally
02:08
masked further than I needed it to so
02:10
I’m just going to hit command set a
02:12
couple of times to undo that
02:13
and then the last thing I’m going to do
02:17
is go to my secondary brush I’m going to
02:19
set the flow up to 100 and this is a
02:21
smaller brush I’m going to then take it
02:24
and just go over the parts of this guy
02:26
that are easy for me to paint on quickly
02:27
so basically what you’re doing is you’re
02:30
using Lightroom’s Auto mask feature to
02:32
get these fine details here so that you
02:35
don’t have to do it personally and then
02:36
afterwards go over and just make sure
02:38
that it hasn’t missed any tiny little
02:40
spots perfect so now that I’ve done that
02:42
I’m going to hold alt and erase and
02:44
really quickly just erase down in here
02:46
because it looks like lightroom has
02:48
automatically selected some of this road
02:50
that doesn’t need to be selected I’m
02:52
going to press o and that’s going to get
02:54
rid of this red overlay okay now what I
02:57
can do is just lower my exposure here
02:59
and we’ll darken this guy just like that
03:03
now if you want to add a little bit more
03:05
blue to this guy all you have to do is
03:07
take your temperature control and just
03:08
shift it towards blue and that’s a
03:12
little far we’re going to leave it
03:13
somewhere around here and now I’m going
03:17
to brighten the whole image up make this
03:23
maybe even a little bit darker up my
03:25
clarity I don’t need to have any
03:27
sharpness on there a little bit of D
03:29
haze perhaps and get rid of the
03:30
saturation and just like that I have
03:34
gone from here to here all right let’s
03:38
keep going this photo here I love the
03:42
vibes but it’s a little washed out
03:43
looking for me so I’m going to do the
03:45
same thing again grabbing my adjustment
03:47
brush I’m going to switch to adjustment
03:49
brush a make sure that my flow is at a
03:51
hundred sizes is one hundred in my auto
03:53
mask is on then I’m going to sample a
03:55
portion of the image here by clicking in
03:57
press o to see where Lightroom is
03:59
masking and sure enough in one click it
04:01
is pretty much covered everything I’m
04:02
just going to hit this little bit of sky
04:04
and it looks like Lightroom’s not loving
04:06
me for that so we’re going to just stick
04:08
there press o again and same trick I can
04:12
you know let’s just reset all these
04:14
settings I can add a little bit of blue
04:17
by just taking the color balance down
04:19
this way
04:19
maybe upping my saturation taking down
04:23
my exposure a little bit
04:25
and just like that I’ve gone fire to
04:29
here okay let’s keep going so another
04:36
area of sky replacement that can be
04:38
tricky is getting details back in clouds
04:40
so before you actually do this
04:42
adjustment brush technique the first
04:43
thing you need to check is whether or
04:45
not your image has any detail left
04:47
anyways because if this in camera if
04:50
this photo had actually blown out these
04:52
whites and the clouds there would be no
04:53
detail left to rescue in the first place
04:55
so an easy trick is you just take your
04:57
exposure down and see if you were just
04:59
exposing for the clouds oK we’ve got a
05:01
little bit of texture in there but not a
05:03
ton so obviously I’m not worrying about
05:05
how the rest of the image looks right
05:06
now just the clouds so I could
05:09
definitely bring some out but we’re
05:10
gonna be watching there’s definitely
05:11
some purple and some weird noise coming
05:13
up in here so we’re going to do this now
05:15
I’m going to reset and undo those
05:18
changes and I’m going to do the same
05:24
thing as our last couple of images go to
05:26
adjustment brush a and just click that
05:28
sky press o to see my mask and that’s
05:31
looking pretty good and then hold alt
05:33
I’m going to erase off of the hill here
05:38
great press o again and then I can just
05:41
lower my exposure like that maybe add
05:44
some contrast take the blacks down and
05:47
one thing you can do if you’re having
05:48
issues with pulling the sky back too
05:50
much and it’s making those weird
05:52
splotchy purpley colors all you have to
05:54
do is just take your noise and turn that
05:56
up and my clarity I can turn that down
05:58
because there’s really not a whole lot
05:59
going on in here
06:00
I can take my sharpness down the two and
06:02
that’ll help blend things together and
06:06
you can see that in this image there’s
06:08
still some weird kind of speckles going
06:10
on here so I can actually just make that
06:13
a little bit less of a drastic change
06:14
zoom back out here’s before and here’s
06:19
after so I hope you can see how easy and
06:23
fast this is it lets you grep so I hope
06:27
you can see how easy and fast it is to
06:28
replace the details in the sky by
06:31
pulling the exposure back down just
06:32
making yourself a nice auto
06:38
so I hope you so obviously this is a
06:42
super easy quick way to mask out your
06:45
sky and get your details back without
06:48
moving into Photoshop and just
06:49
recovering the highlights from our sky
06:51
ever so easily and fast again if you’re
06:55
having issues with weird splotches going
06:56
on you can just lower your sharpness
06:58
turn your denoising on a little bit
07:01
ditch the saturation or just take your
07:04
effect back so it’s a little more subtle
07:08
there’s going to be a limit to how much
07:10
detail you can actually rescue in your
07:12
image it all depends on the raw file so
07:13
before you try and push things too far
07:15
you can always check and just say okay
07:17
if I take this down is there still color
07:19
in the clouds yes there is okay I’m
07:21
gonna go ahead and edit this as I would
07:23
and if not then you’re going to have to
07:25
look at a technique like replacing this
07:27
guy inside of Photoshop so we’ll just do
07:30
a couple more here now in this case this
07:36
image isn’t working very well and why is
07:38
that
07:38
well it’s because if we actually take a
07:40
look at our image our colors are not
07:43
super distinct yes this guy is much
07:46
brighter than the rest of the image
07:47
however it’s not a whole lot different
07:49
in color and exposure on some of these
07:51
reflections on the buildings etc so one
07:54
thing that we can try is turning our
07:56
range mask on so I’m going to click in
07:57
here as I was before
07:59
just on the different areas of this
08:02
sunset and once I’ve done that I’m going
08:05
to take my range mask turn it on to
08:08
luminance so what that’s going to do is
08:10
it’s going to filter out any darker
08:12
areas based on the setting that I give
08:14
it so I’m going to slide my shadows up
08:20
and you can see that slowly but surely
08:24
Lightroom is omitting the darker areas
08:27
of the image from this mask just like
08:33
that so this is without the range mask
08:35
and this is with it on so then I can
08:42
proceed as normal press o again to see
08:43
what I’m doing
08:44
take my exposure down a little bit and
08:47
we’ll just be darkening the road here
08:49
this sunset now if you want to get some
08:54
really great popping colors take your
08:56
clarity up your contrast up a little bit
08:58
just exaggerate the highlights and
09:00
shadows ever so slightly a little bit of
09:02
saturation a little bit of sharpness and
09:05
a little bit of noise is going to help
09:07
as you’re pulling the details back great
09:14
let’s keep going so this next image is a
09:17
fantastic example of where this
09:19
technique can save you a ton of time
09:21
we’ve got a very complicated mountain
09:23
right here which would be so hard for me
09:25
to manually go in there and draw my mask
09:29
in by myself however if i zoom back out
09:33
using our technique take this adjustment
09:36
brush size one hundred feather all the
09:39
way down flow all the way up Auto mask
09:41
and then I click here in the sky
09:43
BAM one click two clicks three clicks
09:46
you can kind of paint on there and
09:48
eventually Lightroom will clue in now
09:55
that is the only part about using an
09:57
auto mask function sometimes it’s not
09:59
going to do exactly what you want it to
10:01
do but that’s fine we can always try our
10:03
range mask trick again take our
10:05
luminance slider slide that up and you
10:08
can see how now it’s only affecting the
10:10
very white portions of the image the
10:11
parts that are very bright indeed great
10:15
so now I’m going to pull that back
10:22
and just like that we’ve got a whole lot
10:24
of detail in the sky that otherwise
10:25
would have been lost I can make this guy
10:27
more blue by lowering that white balance
10:29
a little bit turn my saturation up and
10:32
even a little bit of D haze maybe
10:36
perfect before and here’s after a big
10:41
difference a same thing goes for this
10:45
image obviously our foreground here is
10:48
super super dark because whoever took
10:50
this photo was exposing for the sky
10:52
generally that’s the best possible rule
10:54
because you do not want to lose the
10:56
highlights in the sky if that word gone
10:58
when I pulled it down if it just stayed
10:59
white there’s nothing I can do but
11:00
because I can see that all of the sky
11:03
detail is still there it’s okay all I
11:05
have to do is it grab my little brush
11:07
press o here click click click and now
11:13
I’m going to switch to my second brush
11:15
just to go over these areas once more
11:17
press o again pull my exposure back and
11:23
just like that we have our beautiful sky
11:25
once more I’m not incredible now
11:32
obviously you’re going to want to edit
11:33
the rest of the image too so that things
11:35
don’t look quite so weird and unnatural
11:36
but in about 30 seconds I was able to do
11:40
something that manually would have been
11:42
next to impossible or taking me a long
11:44
time here is before and here is after
11:48
alright two more and we’re done this
11:51
photo was taken at Zion National Park
11:53
we’re just going to delete everything
11:54
here all we have to do to get this guy
11:56
back is first we’re going to check if
11:58
there is detail yes and no this is a
12:01
good example of what happens when you
12:03
over expose your photo and there’s just
12:04
nothing you can do because down here
12:06
where the Sun is setting you can clearly
12:08
see there’s some white areas that no
12:09
matter how far down I take my slider
12:12
they’re going to stay white that’s
12:13
because they were blown out in the
12:15
actual camera there’s nothing we can do
12:16
to get them back but the rest of this
12:18
image we still have a shot at getting
12:19
some detail back so what I’m going to do
12:22
is the same as the other images zoom out
12:27
got my large brush press o to see what
12:30
it’s doing
12:33
perfect and you can see there’s a lot of
12:36
detail around this tree that otherwise
12:38
if I were trying to paint this manually
12:40
it would be a hopeless process but
12:42
because we’re using the auto brush in
12:43
Lightroom we’re getting pretty good
12:46
results very very fast so now go to my
12:50
secondary brush and I’m very lightly
12:53
just going to brush on top of these
12:54
trees throw my flow down and that’s
12:58
going to minimize the effects of those
12:59
weird kind of white splotches and that
13:04
can be a good technique to see here on
13:05
the mountain where we’ve got this kind
13:06
of weird line going on by painting on
13:10
top of it just very lightly we can make
13:14
it a little bit less extreme
13:19
okay so let’s zoom out press o again
13:24
take our exposure down not that far
13:31
Lightroom is not playing very nice with
13:34
me right now it’s kind of stalling so
13:36
it’s hard for me to tell what it
13:36
actually looks like great so again
13:39
here’s before completely white and after
13:42
in this case we’re not going to get as
13:43
much detail back simply because it was
13:45
gone
13:46
we never captured it in camera so it’s
13:48
too late now obviously the work that I
13:50
did to make this little transition a
13:53
little more subtle actually wound up
13:55
making everything look weird so I have
13:56
to go through and probably redo that
13:59
again the easiest way to do that is with
14:02
our auto brush just click on that area
14:07
perfect okay one more and we’re done
14:12
this is an example again of just
14:15
maximizing dynamic range without making
14:16
it look weird this portion of the ferry
14:19
is clearly a lot darker than the sky and
14:21
that’s fine but if I want to brighten it
14:23
up and get more detail out of the sky
14:25
all I have to do zoom out click on that
14:31
sky
14:35
and you can see that it’s not working
14:36
exceptionally well in this particular
14:38
image why is that well sometimes the
14:41
colors are just too close together we’ve
14:43
got blue sky blue water and all of that
14:45
is reflecting blue light onto this now
14:47
blue building and so to do this we’re
14:50
going to have to be a little bit more
14:52
manual a little bit less automatic we’re
14:55
going to select all the water in the sky
14:56
here then after that we’re going to go
15:00
over onto our erase or actually will go
15:04
down to our range mask use that take our
15:08
range all the way up and now we’ve just
15:12
selected this guy awesome so we’ll take
15:16
that exposure down contrast way up add
15:18
some blue get that really blue sky in
15:22
the Blue Mountains in the back and take
15:30
our blocks down perfect so we’ve gone
15:35
from here to here now we can take the
15:42
rest of the image a little bit more
15:43
bright without losing any of the detail
15:45
in this guy so that is how you edit the
15:51
sky in lightroom getting your details
15:53
back without having to replace this guy
15:55
in Photoshop I hope this was helpful for
15:57
you if it was please leave me a comment
15:59
let me know I want to hear it
16:00
make sure to hit that like button and
16:01
subscribe for more great content I will
16:04
see you in the next one
16:05
[Music]
[/powerkit_collapsible]
[/powerkit_collapsibles]

pin 6 lightroom blown out sky fix tutorial how to blogFix 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!

Screen Shot 2018 06 01 at 3.00.54 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2018 06 01 at 3.03.42 PMBlown 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.

Screen Shot 2018 06 01 at 3.04.42 PMBlown 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!

P1011740 2P1011740

hva2oe Samjpg 2hva2oe Samjpg

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!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Explore Presets & Marketing Templates!

Find Your Perfect Edit + Get More Clients!

  • $97.00
    View More
  • Preview of the Lightroom AI Engine Presets
    $75.00
    View More
  • $75.00
    View More
  • Downloadable Lightroom classic basic brush kit - a bundle of Lightroom brush presets
    $59.00
    View More
  • Preview of the Dramatic Black Presets for Lightroom
    $59.00
    View More
  • Preview of the Bright White Presets for Lightroom
    $59.00
    View More
  • A preview of the Summer Presets for Lightroom
    $59.00
    View More
  • Preview of Natural Lightroom Preset Collection
    $59.00
    View More
  • $499.00
    View More
  • Fully customisable Photography business Invoice template
    $22.00
    View More
  • 2 Page Wedding photography price list template for photographers
    $17.00
    View More
  • Wedding timeline client guide for photographers - beautiful canva design template
    $27.00
    View More
  • Fully customisable Boudoir Photography Guide Template for Canva
    $59.00
    View More
  • Newborn photography contract template for photographers designed in Canva
    $75.00
    View More
  • Canva design photography contract template for highschool seniors
    $75.00
    View More
  • Couples Posing Guide for Photographers - real prompts for easy posing
    $59.00
    View More