Lightroom - How To Fix Washed Out Skies

Washed-out skies happen to all photographers sooner or later. It is due to the camera sensor struggling to cope with a broad range of contrast in the captured image and is particularly noticeable in golden hour shots where the sky is much brighter than the ground.

You can easily fix the problem using a Graduated Filter to darken the sky and add more contractual interest.

Step 1 - Select the Graduated Filter from the Develop Module, either by clicking the Graduated Filter icon or using the short-code M. Set the Exposure down, I generally start with 1 full-stop and adjust from there.

Step 2 - Drag the Graduated Filter onto the image you are working on, dragging from the top of the image and down to the horizon line. 

Step 3 - Click Done when you are happy with the effect.

The effect is the same as if you had a Neutral Density filter attached to your camera during the image capture. A solid effect is applied at the top of the image and graduates out towards the horizon for a nice smooth transition.  

The difference between a graduated filter on your camera and one in Lightroom is that you have so many more creative options at your disposal; as you can apply multiple effects including contrast, tone, texture, saturation, and sharpness. All applied on a gradient!

TOP TIP - You can adjust the gradient after you have positioned it on the image by grabbing and dragging the gradient lines. 

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