Have you ever taken an amazing photo, with a blown out sky? The subject is perfect, someone smiled just right, or it’s of a new favorite place but the sky… that sky. It’s blown out, white, boring and leaves an emptiness to your otherwise perfect photo. It happens to me all the time! Luckily there’s an easy fix.

You can quickly & easily swap out a white or blown out sky with a fantabulous fake sky and rescue those photo’s. There are lots of tutorials out there to do it with an easy horizon, for example where ocean meets sky (one of my favorites is: Florabella Cloud Overlay and Trinity Actions Video Tutorial), but sometimes the sky line is a little trickier.

Almost three years ago I was lucky enough to spend two days in Venice & Murano Italy. I took well over a thousand photo’s and I’m still at the just ooh’ing & aah’ing stage. It was a dream come true. Venice was more than I imagined and I still pinch myself I stood on her streets. So many of my photo’s turned out perfectly. While we came in during a thunderstorm, the rest of our trip was gorgeous weather. My only struggle was the first morning when we left Murano to take a waterbus to Venice.

That morning the sky was white & blown out and Murano is just as adorable as Venice. Less crowded, less touristy, still an island with canals for streets. I took several pictures I love, with skies I don’t love. This is  only one of many, I picked this one because of the complicated skyline with the different roofs, antenna and tower:

See? You can barely tell where the blog post ends and my beautiful Murano photo begins. Let’s fix that! There are lots of free sky overlays out there, especially for personal use. I got mine from Summerana, I am using her Sky Overlay 13:

The first thing I do is drag the sky overlay into my photo. I then turn down the Opacity to give me an idea of where I want it. In this step the clouds are over my buildings & boats too, don’t worry! We’ll fix that next.
Note: I am only using a portion of the sky overlay, it extends beyond my canvas. That’s okay!

Now I’m going to turn off the sky layer, click on the photo layer and select the white blown out sky.

To do this, I used my Magic Wand tool:

  • Set to point sample
  • Check both Anti-alias and Contigous
  • Set Tolerance to 11
  • Click on the white blown-out sky background the “marching ants” will appear

This may work on the first try. It may not! Deselect (Ctrl + D), change your tolerance (a higher number will select a greater area), and try again. And then maybe try again.

Once you have your sky selected:

  • Turn on your sky layer
  • Click on your sky layer
  • Click on Layer Mask (the camera icon) in your palette menu

Magic! You have a new sky! Mine is a little too much for me. I fixed this in two steps:

  • I turned down the Hue/Saturation (Ctrl + U) about 13%
  • I turned down the Fill to 62%

That’s it! I’m done & I love my new photo: