Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Replace boring skies with Photoshop selection tools

When it comes to taking photos (or trying to top up your tan) the weather inevitably will let you down, even when you’re shooting in an exotic holiday destination. This can be especially annoying if you’re trying to capture white sands, bright blue seas and clear blue skies.

But thanks to one of our favourite Photoshop tricks, we can select our start image’s drab overcast sky and use the Photoshop selection tools to replace it with a more brochure-like graduated blue. On its own, the Photoshop Magic Wand tool can select most of the picture’s original sky, even if it contains a mixture of greyscale clouds and patches of blue.

However, the Magic Wand won’t be up to the challenge of including delicate details, like our straw parasol’s fine, pointy leaves. Fortunately the Magic Wand belongs to a team of selection tools that have the combined ability to tackle just about any selection challenge.

Below we’ll show you how to use the Selection Brush to add or subtract from the Magic Wand’s initial selection to include the parasol, beach and sea, then turn the selection into a Layer Mask, and then coax back missing details, like delicate palm tree fronds.

We’ll also show you how to use the Gradient tool to create a clear blue sky from scratch, and even add a couple of clouds to add points of interest and a sense of depth to the scene.

All you’ll need for this Photoshop tutorial is Photoshop Elements 9 or higher and about 20 minutes to spare!” This is from Photoplus……MORE of this tutorial here

I was teaching about selection tools on our Photoshop Course last night

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