Sky replacement – your choice?


There was something about this view that somehow made me think “there’s an image there, if only I can find it”. So in post-processing I did just that, I cropped it, and enhanced the sky a little and got the image I wanted. I published it to Flickr …

However, I got the comment that “perhaps it could be cropped a bit to remove some of the sky”. I wasn’t sure about that as I liked the positioning of the apartment block in the corner against the sky, so I thought … a job for sky replacement! This I did in Photoshop bringing the saved images back into Lightroom – what do you think? An improvement? I’d be interested in your opinions. Here are my four best attempts.


The original image was taken with my 70-300mm f4 lens at 70mm, at 1/125sec and aperture f/13 with Auto ISO giving me a setting of ISO 400.




7 thoughts on “Sky replacement – your choice?”

  1. Jonathan Guest

    Well, each of the three adds something to the pic and I can’t decide ( can I ever! ). A nagging thought tells me that, since the skies are all so different, taken at different times of day, that they shouldn’t all look ok with the rest of the pic. But they do!

    1. I know what you mean. I’ve added another sky since the post went live, just to confuse matters further. I was careful to make sure that the sun was in the right place for the sunset shot, and I like that one, but I think the starry sky could be my favourite – one of those two anyway.

  2. I should start off saying I firmly believe everyone should do their photography every which way they prefer! That said, I’m not very keen on sky replacement. It’s not something I am at all tempted by. In many cases, there will turn out to be a clash between the light in the sky and the light in the rest of the image. To me, the first two replacements suffer from this a bit (though both perhaps just plausible in these HDR days), but the last couple do work quite well.

    I’ve got a vague feeling I might have seen a video where Affinity Photo lets you alter the white balance in a directional way, although how smart this is (or could be) I don’t know.

    Haev you tried a crop that goes lower down to include some of the masts?

    1. I hear what you’re saying Chris, and to be strictly honest, you’re probably right. The last two do probably reflect the colours that might have related to the glass better, and indeed the one with the herring-bone sky (?) is the one I left on Flickr. Thanks for adding that it’s a personal choice at the end of the day. I’ve seen a few of your images in the past year and I was interested to see that you were still doing B&W film – you and Ian Dolphin (not sure about film for him) are keen advocates of that format. Are you still involved with u3a?

      1. Yes I’m almost exclusively black and white film these days. Means I can dev my own, which cuts the cost down. Also, it seems I can no longer compose in colour! My luddite attitude might have something to do with the opinion on sky replacement, although I gather similar things were done (presumably with much greater difficulty) when film was the only choice!

        Although Ian mostly shoots with his digital Leicas, I think he may still photo on film occasionally. Quick check shows he’s using a Q2 these days and – shock, horror – also taking colour!

        I’m still in U3A, mainly for the walking, as both our photography groups fell apart in lockdown, and we don’t seem to have got organised yet. Both leaders are stepping down and no-one is stepping up! Another big problem is the very wide range of ability; most are at a very basic level (technically), although some still produce really excellent results, and no-one else takes film or black and white. I’m happy to help when I can but we’re away an awful lot, so I can’t offer a leadership role.

  3. Leonard Smith

    Hi David
    It’s amazing what can be done to a normal picture and make it look something special. The original photo is a record of a scene and can create limited conversation.
    However the changes you made just of the two buildings look extra good.l like the orange sun cloud affect and the night sky with the stars.

    1. I agree Len, they’re my two favourites too. I loved the colours of the glass against the metallic effect frame of the building, but the original sky did nothing. The two you identified just make the whole shot zing. Thanks. Did you notice the person on the balcony?

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