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How to Replace a Sky in Photoshop with any Image

Today we’re going to show you how to automatically replace skies in Photoshop and how to choose your own skies. We got a great tutorial for you. Let’s jump into Photoshop.

So here’s our sample image. You can see the couple looks great. I love this image overall, but the sky is just a little bit boring. There’s not much going on. Thankfully, Photoshop makes this easier than ever. What we’re gonna do is go up to Edit and then down to where you see Sky Replacement. Now, this is a brand new feature within Photoshop, and it actually comes loaded with a bunch of different skies. You can see these skies here. We have blue skies, and you can just kinda click through them and automatically see these skies.

Now that’s fantastic, but I find that some of these skies just don’t necessarily fit with this image. I want something a little bit more subtle and kind of calm, something that says sunset. So we’re gonna go ahead and add our own skies. The first thing I recommend doing is clicking right here on the group icon. Go ahead and make your own group. I’m just gonna click on that and I’m gonna call it My Skies. By the way, you can download this image, all of these skies and the PSD on totally free. Just follow the link right down below.

So here in the My Skies folder, click on this little plus icon here, there we go. And I’m just gonna shift click my different skies that I went ahead and preloaded. I wanted something with nice sunset vibes. Let’s go ahead and hit open here and it’s gonna load them into my skies. So now I can simply click through these images. These are not the ones that came with Photoshop. I chose these. I got them from, which is my favorite free stock image website. And you can kind of just click through them to see what works. It’s really, really easy to do.

Now I’m gonna go with this sky to start with. I like the clouds, the color is not exactly right, but we can change all that. So let’s go ahead and click off of there. Now we can shift our edge inside and outside. That’s just gonna kinda help it blend with the photo. All of these sliders are just gonna change with every image. So I just recommend kinda pushing and pulling these back and forth. Your brightness, you can bring lower and bring higher. I recommend trying to choose something that’s relatively similar to the original photo. If you got a bright sky in your original image, choose a bright sky here. If it’s dark, go with dark. That’ll help it make it look more realistic.

We’re gonna bring our color temperature cooler and warmer. There we go, that’s looking really good. And you can even adjust your scale, how large you want your sky to be. We’re gonna keep that pretty low. You can flip it back and forth. There we go, I think that’s looking great. Let’s go ahead and bring our scale up just a little bit. Now here you have some foreground adjustments. You can actually change the color of your foreground based on the color of the sky. This works pretty well.

Usually I like to just change the sky and have that fit to what we’re actually working with in the image. Now, at this point, we’re looking great. I’m gonna hit this OK button on the very bottom and it says output to new layers. That’s exactly what we want. So let’s go ahead and hit new layers, hit OK, boom. And we’ve got our sky replacement group that you can turn off and on, which is fantastic. Now, my next tip is to go ahead and use a levels adjustment layer to change the colors and to change any light levels that you have. That’s gonna really help the sky feel like it’s in the photo. So let’s go ahead and zoom out just a little bit more.

We have our Sky Replacement group. Here we have our brightness and our sky temperature. Now, we can actually do all that stuff with levels adjustments if we want, but we’re just gonna add it to the sky because I want it to kind of have a little bit more of the feel of the original one. So right here on the very top of sky brightness, just on the top of this layer that’s clipped, you can see these little down arrows, that means that layer is clipped to the sky, meaning it only affects the sky.

We’re going to go ahead and create a Levels Adjustment Layer. So you can click on your Adjustment Layers right here and simply go to Levels, or you can go to Layer, down to New Adjustment Layer, and over to Levels. There we go, let’s hit OK. Now, I want to go ahead and clip this. You can see these other ones have this little down arrow, meaning they’re going to only affect the sky. My levels, I need that to be the same thing too. So, to get that clipped, you can right click and go down to where it says Create a Clipping Mask, or you can just simply click on the icon right here in the Levels Adjustment Layer, and that will create a clipping mask.

Okay, fantastic. So now, maybe I want to just adjust my colors. Let’s just turn this off and on. We can see the original one had a little bit more, like, kind of greenish, right? So in my different color channels, I can go to my red channel, my green channel, and my blue channel within my Levels. Let’s go to our green channel, and let’s take a look at maybe bringing this down a little bit. That’s going to put magenta.

If I bring this over here, that’s going to put some greens in the shadows. If I go for like this, it’s going to put greens in the highlights. So I think I went to my green channel, but I actually want to make my brights a little bit darker. And when I do this, it’s making it darker, but it’s giving me more magenta, which is not what I want. I actually want a little bit more kind of greenish. So for that, I’m going to go to my other color channels and try pulling those down a little bit. So blue a little bit down and then red a little bit down. And then that’s going to give me that kind of greenish cyan look that I want.

I just want it to be a little bit closer to the original photo, and that’s going to help it make it look a little bit more realistic, like it was actually there when we started off. Okay, we’re going to go back to RGB. Again, I’m just turning this off and on a few times, and this is how we’re going to make it look more realistic. I just want it to kind of match the overall brightness level of the original image a little bit more and the overall color. All right, that’s looking great. Now, I do think it’s a little bit… Let’s turn that down a little bit.

So it would be to kind of mix just with the opacity. And it’s maybe just a little bit too saturated for this image. So all you have to do, we’re going to go to Layer, down to New Adjustment Layer, and over here to Hue slash Saturation. There we go, hit OK. Let’s go ahead and clip this as well. Again, you can click on this icon to clip it so it only affects the sky. And then we’re just gonna bring our saturation down a little bit. Now with these, obviously there’s always the balance. Like, do you want a bright, vibrant sky? And you know, there’s nothing wrong with that.

But I think after those subtle changes, it just kind of like has more of the overall tone of the original sky. And because skies light the entire image, right? Like these people, these mountains, everything is lit by the original sky. The sky is the lighting. It changes the color, it changes the mood and the atmosphere and whether you have hard shadows or soft shadows. So when you change up the sky, keep in mind that you want it to be similar to the original sky. That’s gonna make it look more believable because the sky lights the entire photo. So if you put in a sky that’s totally different colors, totally different, you know, like maybe it’s bright sunny where the original one was cloudy, it’s not gonna look realistic because everything in the foreground won’t match the lighting of the new sky.

So that’s why we adjust the sky with a couple like levels adjustment layer and hue saturation. There we go. So there’s our original sky. Here’s what we got from just the sky replacement that we put that levels on there and a hue saturation, and you can see now, it actually looks a lot more like the original sky, and we have a really good sky replacement that’s gonna be believable any day of the week.

Let me know in a comment down below what you’d like to learn from Photoshop next, and hit subscribe if you haven’t already. Thanks so much.