Replace The Sky With This
Photoshop Elements Tutorial

Some people might argue that you shouldn't replace the sky in your photographs. They think it's deceptive because it's not what it looked like when you took the picture. I don't have a problem with it.

The way I see it is it very well might have looked like that if I had been there the day before or the day after when the sun was out. After all it's the same scene and it's the same sky. The same sky is shared by the whole planet. Right? And especially if the photo you use to replace the sky was taken on the same trip to the same area.

Now I probably wouldn't go through my whole photo library and replace every drab sky. But if the sky degrades a really cool shot I might. Or you might want to use it for the cover of a photo book or some other special project. This Photoshop Elements tutorial will show you how to replace the sky in a few easy steps.

Open an image in Elements that you want to replace the sky in


Open the image you want to borrow the sky from. Use your Rectangular Marquee tool to select the whole sky area. Don't worry if you include non-sky area in your selection. Press Control-C (Mac: Command-C) to copy the sky.


Go to the original photo again and duplicate the Background layer by dragging it onto the Create New Layer icon at the top of the Layers palette. Make a selection of the sky. In my example it was easy since the sky was blown out (red, green and blue all had a value of 255 in the Info palette when I hovered my cursor over the sky area). All I had to do is set my Magic Wand tool Tolerance to 12 and checked Contiguous in the Options bar. Then I just clicked on the sky area once with my Magic Wand and it selected the whole area.

You might have to spend more time cleaning up your selection, but once you have just the sky area selected go up to the Select menu and choose Feather…. In the dialog box enter a Feather Radius of 0.6. That will make the transition of your new sky smoother.


Go under the Edit menu and choose Paste Into Selection or use the keyboard shortcut: Shift-Control-V (Mac: Shift-Command-V).

The sky you copied back in Step 2 will be pasted into your selection. Move it to the position you want it. It will only appear within the selected area, but you can move it so the part you want to see shows through. When the photo's where you want it, deselect to commit the change. Once you deselect you can't move it anymore.

Here's a look at the before and after:

Isn't Photoshop Elements great?!

That wraps up this Photoshop Elements tutorial on how to replace the sky. See more Photoshop Elements tutorials by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page.

If you have comments, questions or requests please don't hesitate to use the Contact form to let me know.

Until next time,

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