How to make the sky blue? Photoshop newb...

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by fug.li, Aug 19, 2008.

  1. fug.li

    fug.li TPF Noob!

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    Hello,

    I shot a few panoramas with my simple 35 mm lens and didn't use a polarizer thinking it would only cause problems while stitching them. But, now, while the sky retains the details, it is dirty white. :(

    A quick search online lead me to a site using b&w red filter but that did not work well for me - it made the images look too saturated. I have lightroom and have access to photoshop cs3.

    Any simple guides or pre-made filters out there that will just help me create a pleasant sky? I am completely new at photoshop.

    The pictures I am talking about are the first four on my site below.
     
  2. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    I would make a copy layer of the image, and then use curves and saturation to adjust the sky the way you want. Don't worry about what happens to the foreground. Then mask the darkened sky with the original foreground.
     
  3. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    A big part of the issue is exposure. You have to consider that the landscape is several stops darker than the sky so you can't take a single exposure that will expose both areas well. With the sky over exposed like that, the color is washed out.

    You could try using a grad or split filter to darken the sky and bring the two parts closer together. You could use layer masks to selectively adjust the different parts of the photo. You could take multipe exposures with different exposures, then combine them.
     
  4. fug.li

    fug.li TPF Noob!

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    Mike,

    I have been postponing reading about HDR but I guess now is the time. Anyway, so if I just setup exposure bracketing and combine them it should be fine? Or is it usually better to manually adjust the exposure once for the foreground and once for the sky? I do not own a tripod.

    All the above questions in the context of a panorama.

    Thanks.
     
  5. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I don't know much about HDR, there are many others here who know a lot more. I don't think it really matters how you go about bracketing your shots. I think it's supposed to work better with several images, not just two or three. I've only tried it manually combining two images...I've never used software to do it automatically.

    I'm not sure how much more complicated it would make it, considering that you want to make stitched panoramas...which need the exposures to be even.

    You might be better off just trying to use layer masks and making local adjustments to different parts of the image. It's not a perfect method, but it would certainly help.

    You don't have a tripod? Go get one...today...right now! :)
     
  6. fug.li

    fug.li TPF Noob!

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    Mike,

    Thanks. Yeah, I should be getting a tripod soon, but it is just that whenever I travel, I go with my friends. They already ridicule me for having a semi-professional camera - if I get a tripod it would be the ultimate end. ;) Also, I don't see myself carrying a heavy one either. I once thought of getting a very small tripod that would fit inside my FastPack 200 but someone told me that getting one like a gorilla pod would be a totally worthless thing to do and I better get one when I am ready for the real thing. On the plus side, it did help me learn and get quite good at the art of keeping myself steady at all times. ;)

    I am presently researching about HDR and reading as many tutorials I can find. I can do up to 9 AEBs. I have a 16GB CF and I don't shoot in RAW so shouldn't be a problem I guess as far as HDR is concerned. However, I am not sure how the stitching would work once I have done HDR for each of the pictures. Alternatively, I can do, say 9 panoramas and then do a HDR? Do you think that might work?

    I tried learning photoshop but it looks like it is a lot of work. :( Learning lightroom only took me months so I doubt I would be able to do this way. Giving up... especially since I would need to work on many more photos regularly from now on in a similar way. Hope HDR would be the ultimate answer for all that. :)

    Thanks Mike.
     
  7. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    :shock: That's worse that not having a tripod.
    Shooting in RAW might be the answer to your sky problem, or at least part of the solution.
     
  8. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    :clap:
     
  9. fug.li

    fug.li TPF Noob!

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    The only post processing I do is organizing my photographs. :) I weighed all my options before making that decision and also after reading virtually every opinion on the subject online. I definitely don't have the patience to go through all the images one by one adjusting them before import. Also, since the proprietary formats are anyway going to go unusable in a few years, I really don't find the need for them. I hope HDR would work wonders for me here - else I guess I will just have to go with the polarizers. ;)
     
  10. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    You can get multiple 'exposures' of a sort by shooting RAW and converting them with different settings. This is good because the shots will be otherwise exactly the same. That might be easier than trying to combine multiple shots that were not taken on a tripod.

    You say that you don't want to do any post processing...yet you take the time to stitch panoramas? I'd suggest forcing yourself to try it for a while. You already have Lightroom, which makes it pretty painless.
     
  11. fug.li

    fug.li TPF Noob!

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    As much as I have read so far, it apparently isn't very hard to match the handheld photos especially when one used AEB and a good fps camera. Photomatix apparently does all the dirty work. And, most people seem to be saying combining three exposures of the same RAW image is not HDR at all and would give very sub-par images.
    No, I just use Auto Pano Pro. I just show the folder containing my images and it determines how many panoramas are there and automatically stitches them. I just crop and save it. It is not so much lack of time as lack of patience. When I get time off, I would rather shoot anything and everything with weirder and weirder composition than work on my shot images. I know you are right, but I just couldn't bring myself to change.

    Thanks for all the help, it was very valuable talking to you today. :)
     
  12. sambrody44

    sambrody44 TPF Noob!

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    While on the topic of RAW, why is it so blasphemous to not use it?
     

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