How to make the sky in photos more dramatic and avoid fringing

Mar 9, 2017

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

How to make the sky in photos more dramatic and avoid fringing

Mar 9, 2017

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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If you darken the skies in Lightroom by adjusting the luminance of the blues, you may end up with a white line creating a border between the sky and the objects on the ground. There are ways to get rid of it in Photoshop, but there is also a way to avoid it completely. Tony Northrup shares a tutorial for editing your landscape photos in Lightroom and making those skies dramatic, yet natural.

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When you tone done the luminosity of blue, you will notice some chromatic aberration and fringing between the sky and the objects on the ground. You can easily get rid of the aberration by clicking on “Remove Chromatic Aberration” in the Develop module. However, the white line still remains and gives away your editing secret. To avoid this, you should use a graduated filter.

 

The white line will remain even after you apply “Remove Chromatic Aberration”

Pick a Graduated Filter tool and make a large one, with a soft edge. This will truly make the adjustment gradual and soft, making it look more natural. Apply the filter onto the sky, adjust the exposure and/or color, and you have the dramatic sky you wanted. But oh no, the foreground objects got under the graduated filter and got darker as well. You are one step away from making them correctly exposed.

Within the Graduated Filter tool, there is a “Brush” option. Use it to add or remove the settings you applied with the filter. By holding and dragging the brush, you will apply the settings to all the areas filter doesn’t cover. Since in your case you want to partially remove the Graduated Filter’s settings, hold the Alt key and brush over the areas you want to make as they were before you applied the changes. Keep the “feather” high, so you make the transition smooth and natural.

For you who have the older version of Lightroom, note that this feature does not exist (I learned it the hard way). Lightroom 5.7 is the last version without it. In this case, you can use the regular Brush tool, add the opposite settings from the ones on the Graduated Filter, and apply it to the selected areas.

And this is it. Maybe it takes a little bit more time and fine tuning, but you won’t have to take the extra time to remove the white line after editing the sky. And you won’t leave it there as the obvious proof of tweaking the photo. Happy editing!

[Fringing = LAZY Editing! | Tony & Chelsea Northrup]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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One response to “How to make the sky in photos more dramatic and avoid fringing”

  1. steve Avatar
    steve

    I found a slightly quicker way to apply the graduation over horizons when mountains get in the way and make the tips look too dark. After dragging the graduated filter over the horizon, simply raise the the shadow value of the filter. Because the the sky is usually only highlights, raising the shadows will only effect the mountains. Hey presto you’re done, darker sky and neutral mountains!