How to Fix Blown out Sky in Lightroom

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Do you have sometimes pictures where the sky is all blown out and instead of blue you have only a white or gray sky? This doesn’t look very nice and makes your photos look more like a snapshot than a real photo.

My first try was to take an HDR photo. HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. Basically, you take multiple exposures of the same picture and merge them with a software like Photomatix to a single image. In most cases, this helps to preserve the sky. However, in my case, I was unlucky and had to fix the sky.

This method can be used on any picture. It doesn’t need to be an HDR image.

Depending on your photo, there is a quick, easy, and fast way to fix the overexposed sky in Adobe Lightroom.

The steps and settings below work mostly for me, but you might have to fine-tune it to adapt it to your photo.

First, you want to select your brush tool in Lightroom (see marker #1 in the picture below)

Set your brush settings to the following settings. (see marker #3 in the picture below)

  • Size: this really depends on how big your sky area is. You can change this throughout your process
  • Feather: 100
  • Flow: 51
  • Enable Auto Mask

Now start painting the sky are with your brush (Marker 4). To see where you are painting, enable the overlay by pressing the “O” key on your keyboard. This will highlight the areas you painted with a red overlay.

Once you have painted all of your sky areas turn off your overlay by pressing “O” again and go to your white balance selector (Marker 2). Move the slider for Temp all the way to the left which gives you a blue color.

In most cases, this will give you pretty good results. However, if it’s not good enough for you, you can play with your Saturation slider to give it a deeper or lighter blue.

Try to play also with the Highlights and Exposure slider to fine tune your sky.

Lightroom Settings

This fix is usually pretty quick and only takes a few seconds to apply it to an image.

In my sample, I have also edited the rest of the image in different ways to get the colors better for the rocks. I applied the above method only to the sky portion of the photo and used different settings for the rest of the image.

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