Processing Tip #1: Blue-skying

I’m back in Canada now after four months of living and cruising on our sailboat, Windsong II, in Florida and the Bahamas. As you can imagine, the photo opps were astounding and I did my best to fill up my camera cards with images. Tons of images.

Images that make my heart flutter when I look at them and they bring me back to the feelings of awe and wonder I experienced daily.

Images I now have to go through and delete or process.

I shoot RAW so I don’t have a choice about processing — I have to do it because the image straight out of the camera (SOOC) is not already processed by the camera in the way that jpegs are. A raw image is  like a digital negative and has to be developed in the same way that film negatives have to be developed and tweaked in the dark room.

Processing demands myriad decisions on the part of the photographer about how to present your image to best express what you saw and felt when you clicked the shutter and what you want to share.

Sometimes what comes out of the camera just doesn’t reflect what you saw — because our camera does not have the dynamic range of our eyes or because we didn’t expose properly for the conditions or for some other reason. So we fix things up during the editing process…

I’m always learning about processing — it’s a never-ending journey that I derive so much pleasure from. I’m constantly searching for better ways to achieve and express my vision in my images.

I gather information and ideas from books, other blogs, podcasts, video tutorials, e-books and online classes. I’m forever trying out new techniques. Some I keep and return to over and over — some do nothing for me. To me, editing is not a necessary evil — it’s part of the joy of the creative process.

I’m thinking that many of you are like me and it might be fun to share each other’s experiments.

So I decided to launch a new series of processing tips, in which I share some simple processing techniques that I pick up and test out. I mainly use Adobe Photoshop CC, Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom.

I’ll share the link to the source of the information, which will contain the how-to’s so you can try it out too — and I’ll share my results.

So, on to Tip #1…

I saw this tip on Lightstalking. It’s great for pepping up those washed out or bland skies that we all struggle with from time to time.

Now, of course there are many other ways to achieve the same goal — both in camera, using filters and through processing. But this is a quick and easy way to deepen the blues of your skies in a natural looking way. By combining targeted changes to the exposure and saturation, the result is very pleasing.

Here is my image — before and after. See what you think…

I’d love it if you’d share your go-to methods for doing the same thing, in the comments or on your blog.



overdraught - sqbf





overdraught - sqafterfin



8 thoughts on “Processing Tip #1: Blue-skying

  1. Pingback: Phototips on Saturday: Lightroom tips - Clicking through the bucket listClicking through the bucket list

  2. This was a great tip Sherry. I will try it out…I do use the HSL panel but not the filters so much…I’m just starting to really understand LR now, it’s taken me quite awhile and I’m still learning. I also subscribe to Light Stalking but don’t always get to read it. So much to do, right? Loved your final edit.
    Glad your home safe and sound…xo

  3. Ooooh! I like this tip. I’m sure I’ve heard it before but somehow I never remembered and certainly haven’t mastered it. I’ve joined Light Stalking and will bookmark this link. This is a tip every photographer will need again and again. I also love your explanation of RAW and why post-processing is necessary. Like you, I find it part of the creative process, however, I don’t like it to be tedious. Simple works best for me.

  4. Thanks, Beverly! Good to be home. It’s amazing what you can do with the HSL panel isn’t it? I find the graduated filter is especially good for landscapes. Appreciate your visit!

  5. Glad you like it, Sarah! Hope I will come up with some tips that might be useful to you in the future! The graduated filter would no doubt be helpful to you for your outdoor shots by the water.

  6. Sherry this is a great series of tips! Thanks for sharing them. I too have been using the HSL panel for more control of colors and love the results. I’m still learning when to use the graduated filter. I do love Lightroom!! Love your final processed image with more blue. Nice to see you made it home safely!

  7. Love the new series! Processing is something that I want to focus more on this summer. Now that there isn’t just snow and ice to photograph. I always forget about the filters, need to explore those more.

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