Making the sky pop with gradient masks and the curves tool
Last updated on 2018/1/19

In this quick tutorial, we show you how to make the sky pop in your landscape images. This works especially great near sunrise or sunset when the sky in your photographs has a ton of color or interesting clouds. Check out the video below to see the quick tutorial.

Don't want to watch the video? Here's how you'll use the two tools to make your sky pop.

Gradient Masks

The first thing to do is bring detail back into your sky. Do this with a gradient mask. Usually, your camera will expose properly for the foreground and the sky will be blown out. So the adjustments we make with the gradient mask will try and correct those shortcomings. In the sample video, we lower the exposure to bring detail back into the clouds. And then we add a little contrast.

Curves tool

The image looks great with just the gradient mask adjustments, but by making some global adjustments using the curves tool we can make the entire image pop a little bit more. Here, we add a simple "S-curve" to the image using the curve tool.