Photography For Real Estate

Tips and techniques for real estate photography

Sky Replacement

Posted by larrylohrman on March 16, 2006

Last Monday when I talked about improving skies in exterior photos I mentioned that once you delete the boring sky you can replace it with a more exciting sky. The photo above is essentially the same exterior photo I used to demonstrate the “perfect sky” technique. Here I’ve replaced the sky with one I took a couple of years ago at the Oregon beach at sunset.

To add the new sky size it to the same pixel width as the sky you are replacing and put the new sky on a Photoshop or Photoshop Elements layer below the exterior with the sky deleted. Recall that to delete the boring sky use the magic wand with the tolerance set to around 30 or 40 pixels to select the sky. This way all the pixels in a range of colors are selected. Then backspace to delete the sky.

The trees around the roof of the house present a problem. Its sometimes difficult to delete the parts of the sky that are showing through the trees. One could manually erase all the parts of the sky that are showing through the trees but that’s quite tedious so I just removed the troublesome trees around the roof line.

Of coarse you need to be careful when replacing the sky with a sunset. If you show a sunset occurring in the wrong direction you could be seriously misrepresenting the orientation of the property. In this case I used this sunset as a demonstration only. In actual practice replacement skies should not be this direction specific.

Also, If you look at the lighting in this photo you will notice the lighting on the house is inconsistent with the direction and color of the sunlight from the sunset. This is because the house photo was taken in the morning to get good exposure on the house. This kind of inconsistency is frequently unavoidable when you monkey with Mother Nature!

Below is a less direction specific sky replacement.


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