photoshop creative

5 dramatic sky options for landscape shots

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
December 1, 2014

Five ways to transform ordinary photos into spectacular scenes with a spot of sky enhancement

1. God light

On a new layer, head to Adjustment>Threshold and change its level to 100. Then apply Filters>Blur>Radial Blur, setting the Amount to 100, Blur Method to Zoom, and Quality set to Best. Adjust using preview and then hit OK. Change the blend mode to Lighten and then adjust the location of the filter. Erase wherever you don’t want the light beam.

2. Sunset

To achieve this beautiful sunset scene, duplicate the background layer and then go to Image>Adjustments>Match Colour. Select the picture drop-down containing the sunset and the image will then appear in miniature. Leaving the ‘Preview Mode’ option enabled, adjust the Fade slider until you get the desired effect.

3. Thunder

On a new file, use the Gradient tool (G) to Linear Fill the background from black to white. Go to Filter>Render>Difference Clouds. Now invert using Cmd/Ctrl+I. Copy and paste onto your original image, changing the blend mode to Screen. Using Image>Adjustments>Brightness/Contrast to lower the Brightness of both layers until you have striking thunder.

4. Stormy sky

A stormy sky can help to add instant drama to your image. Duplicate the background layer and go to Adjustments>Levels, then increase the density of the shadows by setting the Shadows to 40, Midtones to 0.74 and Brightness to 255. Now head over to Filter>Others>High Pass, setting it to 10 pixels. Change the layer’s blend mode to Overlay.

5. Vibrant

To get a wonderfully coloured photo, a few vibrancy edits can be made. Duplicate the Background and go to Adjustments>Vibrance, setting it to 70. After that, select Adjustments>Shadows and Highlights and change the Shadows Intensity to 60%. Now go for Adjustments>Colour Correction, setting a Contrast of 80 and Midtones to 70. Finally, go to Adjustments>Increasing levels, setting brightness to 222.

  • Lynne

    Mark, on your “god light tutorial” when I add an adjustment layer >threshold, it turns my picture to black and white — what am I doing wrong? I’m using PSE 13. thanks