Hi everyone!

Today I am sharing with you one of my favorite tricks to change-up the skies in my photos to use on my layouts.

One of the things that frustrates me at times as a photographer is those photos with the darn white skies.  Sometimes it is because the sky truly is grey on the day the photo was taken.  Other times it is because the photo is exposed for the objects or people in the foreground which then in turn overexposes the sky.

Disney Scrapbook Page Layout - Mission Space by Sharon

So instead of that pretty blue sky you are left with a washed out one. Now granted sometimes a white or grey sky might look really great in the photo depending on the type of effect or mood you are looking to achieve in the photo itself or a scrapbooking layout.  Maybe the grey skies illustrate a story and if so… that is perfectly fine.  But let’s say you have some photos that sure would look better with a pretty blue sky…

Photos can easily be altered in Photoshop using the lasso tool & gradient fill tool and I have done that before and I was very pleased with the result.  But in this post today I am going to show you a quick and easy way to do it right inside Artisan scrapbooking software – no Photoshop needed.

Here is an example of a layout created with a Photoshop tutorial readily found on the web. I first pulled the photograph into PS Elements and created the blue sky.  I imported it back into my scrapping software and made my page.  I loved how it turned out & the blue sky was so much prettier in my layout. However it does involve quite a few steps for sure. (In hindsight, I created this layout over a year ago and now I probably would use a pre-set in Lightroom to add some more blue to this sky since the original photo has just a hint of blue in it – it would not take much to increase that blue tint. But that would still not work for a photo with a completely white sky)

Scrapbook Page Layout - Tips and Tricks - Changing a Grey Sky to Blue - Equestrian Horse Jumping Competition by Sharon

BEFORE blue sky was added:

Scrapbook Page Layout - Tips and Tricks - Changing a Grey Sky to Blue - Equestrian Horse Jumping Competition by Sharon

So what is an easier & much quicker way to get some blue skies? Another way I have altered skies in photos is directly in my scrapbooking software program with just a few simple clicks of the magic wand tool and I have been just as happy, sometimes more so, than the Photoshop method.

For the purposes of this post I am using Artisan 4.0 made by Panstoria.  The same steps are suitable for Creative Memories Storybook Creator 4.0 since they are basically identical programs.

The key is to use a photo where there is a clean delineation between the white sky and the rest of the photo because the magic wand tool is going to be used to remove that white sky portion of the photo and this tool works better with sharp color contrast & clean lines.

In this case the roof of the red barn is in sharp contrast with the white sky & there is clear separation of the two colors. If you have a photo where there are lots of trees or other fine detailed objects this method I will show you today might not work as well.

It’s not an exact science so my advice is to try it and see.  It also might be possible to use the lasso tool in Panstoria’s software program called Historian.  I mention this since those of you who scrap with Storybook Creator or Artisan most likely also use Historian or Memory Manager to organize your photos.

Scrapbook Page Layout - Tips and Tricks - Changing a Grey Sky to Blue - Red Barn with Dog by Sharon

So back to the barn…

  • You simply select your photo on your page, go to the magic wand tool and then use the wand to select the white sky – wait a second or two until you have the “marching ants” all the way around the white part of your photo.
  • I prefer to use “adjacent” versus “all” in the selection scope so that I have greater control. Hold down the shift key to add all the white to your selection. You might have to play around with the sliders a bit to get all the white inside the marching ants.
  • Select “keep unselected area” and the white sky will then disappear from your photo.  Voila! This is important because with the white portions of your photo removed you will then be able to see the blue sky that you are going to be placing BEHIND your photo in the underneath layer.

Next step is to recreate a blue sky.

  • All I did was place another photo of a blue sky BEHIND the barn photo in my layer panel.  I just searched though my photos that I had in my library until I found one I liked and then adjusted it behind the barn until I got the look I was after.  You could even intentionally go outside on a clear beautiful day and just take photos of sky and various cloud formations to have on hand.

Layout showing the underneath layer of the blue sky photo:

Scrapbook Page Layout - Tips and Tricks - Changing a Grey Sky to Blue - Landscape by Sharon

FINAL RESULT – removing that white sky allows the blue sky of the photo underneath to show through.  Even though it is such a small thing on this page it makes a big impact and makes for a more visually interesting layout. In just a few simple clicks & all within my scrapbooking software I had a blue sky.

Scrapbook Page Layout - Tips and Tricks - Changing a Grey Sky to Blue - Red Barn with Dog by Sharon

Another super fun thing to do instead of using a photo of a blue sky is to use paper.  For this Animal Kingdom layout that you might have seen a few weeks ago in a Christmas post here I used the same technique of using the magic wand to get rid of the white sky behind the Christmas tree.  And again this is not a horrible photograph – this is not to say that all photos with white skies look bad, not at all.

original photo with white sky:

Disney Animal Kingdom Christmas Tree

So even though I love the original photo I also love creating what I feel is a more dynamic look. This time I used a PAPER embellishment of a blue sky by Anna Aspnes & one of a world map that was part of a collab kit called “Journey” found at Oscraps.com .

I was then able to blend it nicely with the map paper underneath. You could also get creative and use paper with text or maps, layer your journaling, or use other artsy types of paper to blend into your photo in place of the sky– the possibilities are endless.

Disney Scrapbook Page Layout - Animal Kingdom Christmas Tree

Here’s another example of using paper and embellishments to add some pizzazz to your photos.

Here’s an older photo of my 2 children in front of Mission Space.  A decent photo with good overall exposure but it is blah to me because of the white sky AND that on that day the sky was bright blue.

After applying the magic wand tool I ran into one issue – the glare from the large planet in the sculpture was also being deleted along with the sky but it was so minor I decided to hide that flaw with some word art.

[quote]Word Art is like spanx for your layouts – it hides a multitude of flaws![/quote]

Using Sahlin Studios “Innovations” kit which is an Epcot themed kit I created an underneath photo spot layer and filled it with a subtle blue Epcot-ish paper and then slapped the word art on top! I loved the result – from blah to wow!

BEFORE – nice photo but blah….

Mission Space before

AFTER!  WOW much more exciting!  🙂

Disney Scrapbook Page Layout - Mission Space by Sharon

Starburst papers that are so popular right now also look great to fill in skies:

Disney Scrapbook Page Layout - Mission Space by Sharon

So next time you find yourself wishing you had a blue sky hopefully these tips will help you out – at least for scrapbooking.  😉  It is a small thing but it can have a big impact on your layouts!

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