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Replacing the Sky

This is the absolute #1 request I get from real-estate photographers: how to replace the sky in exterior shots taken for their clients. In the world of selling homes, “every day should be a bright sunny day,” and with a little Photoshop magic, it can be.

Step One.
Open the photo that needs a new, brighter, bluer sky.


Step Two.
You have to select the sky, and in the example shown here I used the Magic Wand to select most of it. Then, I chose Similar from the Select menu to select the rest of the sky, but as usual, it also selected part of the house. So I had to hold the Option key (PC: Alt key) and use the Lasso tool to deselect some excess areas on the roof and in the windows. You can use any combination of selection tools you’d like.

Step Three.
Shoot some nice sunny skies (like the one shown here) and keep them handy for projects like this. Open one of these “sunny sky” shots, and then go under the Select menu and choose All to select the entire photo. Then, press Command-C (PC: Control-C) to copy this sky photo into memory.

Step Four.
Switch back to your original photo (the selection should still be in place), go under the Edit menu, and choose Paste Into.

Step Five.
When you choose Paste Into, the sky will be pasted into your selected area on its own layer over the old sky. If the sky seems too bright for the photo, simply lower the Opacity of the new sky layer in the Layers palette to help it blend in better with the rest of the photo.



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