🌟 Exclusive 2024 Prime Day Deals! 🌟

Unlock unbeatable offers today. Shop here: https://amzn.to/3LqnCuJ 🎁

Blue Sky Technique


TPF Noob!
Aug 4, 2010
Reaction score
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
I need some help on how to shoot a Blue sky....I know all about the "sunny 16" rule but I think there is more to it then just that...what is it? Also, when editing what is the trick to bringing out the bright colors in photos?

Another question: I have a 85mm lens which does outstanding, I am wondering is there any other lens that would give the same affect that you would recommend..I mainly shoot weddings and families.

I am getting ready to purchase the Canon 5d Mark II :D Any imput on such topics would be great! Thanks!
The most obvious advice is to use a polarizer. Modern cameras require a circular polarizer to keep auto exposure and auto focus working properly. A polarizer will deepen the blue of blue skies and pop up other colors also, by reducing reflected white light, allowing the light containing the color of an object to predominate. This is done in camera; in editing Adobe has a control for "vibrance" which works something like "saturation" but avoids increasing colors which don't show in the original and avoids messing with skin tones. If your exposing manually a polarizer will require an additional one to two stops. Remember to rotate your polarizer while looking through the viewfinder to get the effect you like.
keeping the sun to your back will increase the blue in the sky .

if your using a polarizer you need to be sure your at the proper angle to the sun.

then there is mother nature and what else is going on in the environment; i.e.polution is going to hinder the tones
Polarizer for skies, or graduated ND if its a full landscape shot. Colors are effected by exposure/lighting, filters, and post processing.

The lens question is vague, what is it that you like about that lens? Might I recommend two things..

1) hold off on the 5D unless you have money to burn

2) try the beginners section of the forum.
Polarizing filters work best when the Sun is 90° to the lens axis and no more than 30° above the horizon. Avoid shooting during mid-day, if possible.

With no polarizer do like ann said and put the Sun directly behind you. As it gets higher in the sky, saturation of the blue sky will diminish.

At that point you can gain some sky saturation by underexposing somewhat. The problem is that you will also underexpose anything else in the image, which is why graduated neutral density filters can help if you have a relatively straight horizon line across the entire image.

Hopefully, your 85 mm and other lenses are EF lens and will work on the 5D MKII, because EF-S lenses won't.
Last edited:
When all else fails, in postprocessing you can use a graduated blue filter or substitute a sky from another shot.

Polarizer! A circular polarizer will make all the difference in bright blue sky shots.
When all else fails, in postprocessing you can use a graduated blue filter or substitute a sky from another shot.


Great preset in LR3: Matt's Deep Blue Sky presets. Just be careful, it can get too intense and fake looking if you don't tweak it properly.
I recommend a polarizer filter, or you can improve your photo in lightroom (Graduated Filter)

Most reactions

New Topics