How to Fix a Bad Sky in Adobe Photoshop

Replace a dull sky through compositing or with the clouds filter

A road leads to a mountain horizon under a blue sky.

Cheryl Bronson / Getty Images

Sometimes when you take outdoor photos, the sky can appear dull or washed out. Fortunately, it's possible to replace a sky in Photoshop through image compositing or using the clouds filter.

Instructions in this article apply to Photoshop CC 2019 for Windows and Mac.

How to Fix a Bad Sky With the Photoshop Cloud Filter

To replace the sky in a photo with the clouds filter:

  1. Select the Quick Selection tool from the toolbox.

    Select the Quick Selection tool from the toolbox.
  2. Click and drag across the area to be replaced, then release the mouse button to select the sky.

    If the Quick Selection tool omits part of the sky, press the Shift key and click on the missed patches to add them to the selection.

    Click and drag across the area to be replaced, then release the mouse button to select the sky.
  3. Select the color swatches in the bottom-left corner of the workspace, and then set the Foreground Color to blue and the Background Color to white.

    Select the color swatches in the bottom-left corner of the workspace, and then set the Foreground Color to blue and the Background Color to white.
  4. Select Filter > Render > Clouds.

    Select Filter > Render > Clouds.
  5. The selection will be replaced by a new sky with clouds. Right click the new sky and select Clouds to reapply the filter with a different pattern.

    Right click the new sky and select Clouds to reapply the filter with a different pattern.
  6. With the sky still selected, go to Edit > Transform > Perspective.

    With the sky still selected, go to Edit > Transform > Perspective.
  7. Click and drag the handle in the top-left corner to the left to make the clouds look like they are rolling in as the perspective changes.

    Click and drag the handle in the top-left corner to the left to make the clouds look like they are rolling in as the perspective changes.

How to Replace a Sky With Another in Photoshop

While the clouds filter can produce convincing results, replacing the sky with another real sky usually looks more natural.

  1. Open the target image and select the Quick Selection tool.

    Select the Quick Selection tool from the toolbox.
  2. Click and drag across the area to be replaced, then release the mouse button to select the sky.

    To avoid picking up stray pixels along the selection edge, go to Select > Modify > Expand, then increase the Expand by value and select OK.

    Click and drag across the area to be replaced, then release the mouse button to select the sky.
  3. Open the replacement image and select the Rectangular Marquee tool.

    Open the replacement image and select the Rectangular Marquee tool.
  4. Select an area of the sky, then go to Edit > Copy.

    Select an area of the sky, then go to Edit > Copy.
  5. Return to the target image and select Edit > Paste Special > Paste Into.

    Return to the target image and select Edit > Paste Special > Paste Into.

The original sky will be replaced with the sky you copied from another image.

The original sky will be replaced with the sky you copied from another image.