Lightroom Video: The Ultimate Trick for Working With Skies

One of Lightroom’s best features for working with skies in your photos is the Graduated Filter. It’s a great way to realistically tame a bright sky without actually using a glass filter on your lens in the field. One of the problems with the Grad filter though (whether you use a real filter or the one in Lightroom), is that it tends to darken anything that goes above your horizon line (like trees or mountains). Well, in this week’s video I’ll walk you through one of the best tips I’ve found with the Grad Filter to help make those skies look great and bring out the detail in anything the filter may have inadvertently darkened. Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Author: Matt K

Matt is a full time Education Director for the NAPP and Kelby Training. He's a best-selling author of various books on Photoshop and Photography co-hosts the live weekly photography talk show "The Grid" and is co-host of "Photoshop User TV". In his spare time he practices as a 1st degree black belt in Taekwondo and enjoys spending time with his family in Tampa, FL.

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12 Comments

  1. Neat trick, thanks Mat! As you mentioned in the video I was one of those who missed “Shadow” slider in the Grad filter options.

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    • Wow! I’ve been frustrated over that problem for long time, resorting to brushes. This tip realy is a Killer Tip! Thanx a lot!

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  2. Excellent video. So simple to do. Thanks Matt

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  3. You can also use a little less exposure adjustment and play with the highlights as well. Great tip

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  4. nice trick, thanks
    i am often using nx2 and color efex pro 4 and this problem doesn’t exist. just add a minus upoint and the montains is not touched !!!
    ounce again it is a pity nikon left nx2 become so obsolete with respect to lightroom. it had a potential much more powerful than lightroom can do.
    nik plugins are similar but need multi-tiff.
    ononesuite 7.5 has nice intelligent brush but again, we need tif files.
    but as you show in lightroom this is a big problem and i am happy to see a solution exists and i don’t need using tiff and plugin all the times.
    however i am surprised the solution is so simple.
    i thought that you should had taken the brush with an “inverted effect”, hard to find with a gradient, or something like that !!!

    best regards
    marc

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  5. Thanks for such a neat trick.. never would have thought about moving the other sliders, especially the shadows one.

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  6. Excellent trick! I had never thought of this! I purchased by first lee filter and graduated soft ND, but even that would have had a similar problem!

    Great tip!

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  7. Thanks for sharing all this content. I am fan of your work last couple of years.

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  8. Try this before but didn’t know abbot the shadow one

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  1. Graduated Filter – Matt’s tip | - [...] I popped over to his blog and he has given an excellent tip about using the Graduated Filter in …

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