Creating and Using Sky Overlays
Once you move on from basic photography skills and into more advanced techniques, you’ll find that few things are so useful as sky overlays. No matter what type of photography you enjoy — portraiture, landscapes, architectural photography or any genre — sky overlays will help you to correct those dull, flat skies that so often occur in day-to-day photography. The fact is, you’ll often have very little control over the weather when you decide to take a few photos, and if you are a professional photographer, then you will need to adhere to the appointments that you have set up no matter what the sky looks like.
Fortunately, sky overlays are easy to use, and they are even easier to create. I’ll show you, step by step, how to create your own sky overlays and then use them when needed in your images.
How to Create Sky Overlays
To create a sky overlay, it is as simple as taking a photograph of a beautiful sky. There is no need to search for (and then purchase) stock photos to do this. Simply make a point to take photographs whenever you think the sky looks particularly beautiful. Likely, you’ll want to create several different types of sky photographs — different kinds of clouds, and at different times of day so that you have a collection of overlays to simulate a variety of different weather and lighting conditions.
To take your sky photographs, make sure to just photograph only the sky. Avoid trees, hills and other background objects as this will just create more work for you later on when you need to remove these elements from your images. Additionally, if you exclude background elements from your image, then you will have an easier time creating a balanced exposure. As we all know, it is often difficult to balance an image of the sky that includes a shadowy foreground — often necessitating neutral density filters so that you can manually darken the sky and bring out trees, hills, and other less bright objects.
If you follow this process, making sure to take photographs of the sky whenever it looks particularly interesting to you, then before too long, you’ll have a large collection of photos that you can use as overlays.
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