Tutorial: Autumn Skies Photography

Post processing

Transferring your images to a computer and working on them with one of the many imaging applications available can strengthen existing images.

If you shoot using the RAW format, open the images in Canon's Digital Photo Professional (DPP) software. DPP has a useful range of options that are easy to use. You can adjust the brightness, contrast, highlight, white balance, tone and saturation of the image, along with the sharpness. Experiment with these to see their impact. Two of the most dramatic for skies are shown below:

1: Original sky
2: Sky with increased Contrast
3: Sky with added Contrast and Highlight

DPP is not just for RAW images - you can also use it to process JPEG files. The range of options is less, but still provides a good starting point for any changes. If you took your photo in colour you can convert it, whether it is RAW or JPEG, to black & white. This can give a fresh look to a photograph that makes it work even better than the colour original. Increase the contrast for a more dramatic result.

Cloud banks
Photographing skies has its practical side, too. You can build up a collection of different sky images, from white fluffy clouds against a blue sky to the dark clouds that precede a thunderstorm. These sky images can then be merged with landscapes that have a strong foreground, but a dull sky.

Canon's DPP software offers a compositing tool. This allows you to combine two or more images, such as one of your bank of cloud photos, with a landscape. You will need to experiment, but the tool leaves the original images untouched so that you can go back again and again to get the result you want.

Photograph the skies then show us the results
Now you have seen some inspirational photos where clouds are a major element, the next step is to try it out for yourself. Enter your favourites and they could feature in the Gallery next month or in future tutorials.

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