This is a quick and easy tutorial for first-timers and beginners who wish to try their hands on Lightroom to make the sky look bluer.
Using Graduated Filter Tool to edit the sky
The graduated filter tool is the third local adjustment tool covered in this Lightroom series. Its purpose is to apply a range of effects on a controlled section of photos, done, as the name implies, in a gradual manner. The Grad Filter is perhaps the easiest way to boost a dull looking sky. Work on your image first, getting the exposure, contrast, and color right then, when you are happy we can add the grad to the sky.
Our editing goal for the day is
Turn this image (BEFORE)
To this (AFTER)
If you wish to download the same image for practice purposes, you may click here
Follow these steps on Lightroom (PC Version)
Select the Gradual Filter tool
Now move your cursor over the main image, you will that your cursor
turns to a crosshair. (+ sign).
From the very top of the image, click and drag this crosshair down. You
will see three white lines expand across the image. These are the extents
of the effect of your filter. Drag to the lowermost point is just below the
Clicking on show selected mass overlay will show the mask (in red color),
this is the area that is selected by the gradual filter to be edited.
Now adjust your Filter
Underneath the histogram in the Develop module, you will now see a
range of adjustment tools. These tools will work only for the graduated
Sometimes the sliders are adjusted automatically, in such cases double
click on Effect to restore to "0".
In our particular example, we want to darken the sky a little, make it
little bluer. To darken the sky, we simply move the exposure slider to the
left (towards minus). We don’t want to go too far otherwise we will just
end up with a very unnatural and dark looking sky. To make the sky bluer, we click on the Color swatch at the bottom of the grad adjustments
and then select a more suitable blue.
Drag the Temp (Temperature) Slider to the bluer/indigo side to give it a little more cooler tinge. This step is completely optional
To make the clouds stand out, we can do several things. First, we can
increase the contrast a little, then increase the highlights by moving the
slider to the right, finally, we can increase clarity, again by moving the
slider to the right.
If you wish to change any other sliders, you may. You completely have
the creative freedom. Just make sure that your image does not look over
If you know a little about the brushes, you may use the erase brush to
erase the blue tinge from the architecture (tips not included in the video)
In the video, another graduated filter is used to make the grass look
Please note that this is just a general tip and tutorial for beginners to work
on the sky, more advanced improvements can be applied.
You also have the creative freedom to change the exposure, clarity,
and highlights. Try something new and you will get a completely different
Watch this quick video