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Shooting on Cloudy Days

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LOCATION: TORC WATERFALL, KILLARNEY NATIONAL PARK, IRELAND

This is another one of those things that may initially elicit a “Duh” response, but I’ve been out shooting with more photographers than I can think of who didn’t think of this simple concept when shooting on gray, overcast days—shoot to avoid the sky. I know, it sounds silly when you’re reading it here, but I’ve heard it time and time again, “Ah, the sky is so gray today, I’m not going to shoot.” Baloney. Just take shots that limit the amount of visible sky. That way, if you make a tonal adjustment later in Photoshop (that’s a fancy way of saying, “I’m going to make the sky look bluer than it really was on that gray, overcast day”), you won’t have to work very hard. This just happened on my last shoot, where we’d have 20 minutes of blue sky and then an hour and a half of gray, overcast sky. I just really limited the amount of sky in my photos (I was shooting urban city photos), and then it took just seconds to fix in Photoshop. Here’s what I did:

  • Step One: I opened one of the photos where the sky looked nice and blue, then took the Eyedropper tool (I), and clicked on the blue sky to make that my Foreground color.
  • Step Two: I then opened a photo with small amounts of gray, overcast sky and with the Magic Wand tool (W) clicked in the sky to select it (which took all of two seconds).
  • Step Three: I added a new blank layer above my Background layer and filled the selection with my Foreground color. That’s it—my gray sky was blue.
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