The Grey Sky in Lightroom, plays a pivotal role in photography, often setting the mood and tone of the entire image. Whether it’s a fiery sunset or a serene blue expanse, the sky can make or break a photograph.

However, photographers often face a common challenge: the dreaded grey sky. This lackluster backdrop can diminish the vibrancy of an otherwise perfect shot.

Why Lightroom?

When it comes to post-processing, Lightroom stands out as a favorite among many photographers. Its user-friendly interface and powerful tools make it an ideal choice for sky adjustments.

While other software like Photoshop offers a plethora of editing options, Lightroom provides a more streamlined approach, specifically tailored for photographers.

Source: Mark McGee Photos

Basic Steps to Fix a Grey Sky in Lightroom

Fixing a grey sky in Lightroom involves a combination of techniques:

  • Adjusting Exposure and Contrast: Begin by tweaking the exposure. Increasing it can brighten a dull sky, while decreasing can add drama to an overexposed one. Adjusting the contrast can further define clouds and other sky elements.
  • Enhancing Colors Using the HSL Panel: The Hue, Saturation, and Luminance (HSL) panel is a powerful tool in Lightroom. Adjust the blue and aqua sliders to enhance the sky’s color. The luminance slider can brighten or darken specific colors, adding depth to the sky.
  • Utilizing the Gradient Filter for Selective Adjustments: The gradient filter allows for selective adjustments. Dragging it down from the top can apply effects only to the sky, leaving the rest of the image untouched.

Advanced Techniques

For those looking to delve deeper into sky adjustments, Lightroom offers a range of advanced techniques:

  • Using the Brush Tool for Precise Adjustments: The brush tool lets you paint adjustments onto specific areas. This is especially useful for skies with irregular shapes or when you want to avoid editing other parts of the image.
  • Blending Modes and Their Impact on Skies: Blending modes determine how layers interact. For skies, the “Overlay” or “Soft Light” modes can enhance contrast and color, giving life to a grey sky.
  • The Role of Presets in Speeding Up the Process: Presets are predefined adjustments that can be applied with a single click. There are numerous sky-enhancing presets available, both within Lightroom and from third-party sources. They offer a quick way to transform a grey sky, though they might need some tweaking to fit the specific image.

Fixing Grey Sky in Lightroom: Advanced Techniques and Tips

Sky Replacement in Lightroom vs. Photoshop

Photoshop has made waves in the photography community with its sky replacement feature. This tool automates the process of swapping out the sky, making it easier than ever to transform a photo’s backdrop.

On the other hand, while Lightroom doesn’t have a dedicated sky replacement tool, its suite of editing features offers flexibility in manually adjusting the sky. 

In terms of results, both can produce stunning outcomes, but Photoshop’s feature is more user-friendly for beginners, while Lightroom offers more control for those willing to invest the time.

Tips for a Natural Look

Achieving a natural look when adjusting or replacing the sky is crucial. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Matching Lighting and Perspective: Ensure that the light direction in the sky matches the rest of the photo. Also, consider the perspective; a sky taken from a low angle might not look right in a photo taken from a high angle.
  • Adjusting the Horizon Line and Refining Edges: The transition between the sky and the landscape should be seamless. Use tools like the gradient filter or brush tool in Lightroom to blend the edges smoothly.


How often should I replace the sky in my photos?
It’s subjective and depends on the desired outcome. If the original sky detracts from the image, consider replacing it.

Can I use mobile Lightroom for sky adjustments?
Yes, Lightroom Mobile offers many of the same tools as the desktop version, including those for sky adjustments.

Are there any plugins for Lightroom that assist in sky replacement?
While Lightroom doesn’t have a dedicated sky replacement tool, there are third-party presets and plugins that can simplify the process.

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In the realm of photo editing, practice truly makes perfect. Whether you’re using Lightroom, Photoshop, or any other tool, it’s essential to experiment with different techniques and approaches.

With time and patience, you can transform any grey sky into a masterpiece.

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