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Mike Kelley’s Ultimate Sky Library

Mike Kelley’s Ultimate Sky Library with Mike KelleyUltimate Sky Library


Mike Kelley’s Ultimate Sky Library : Let’s face it: one of the most difficult challenges we battle as photographers is having the weather cooperate with us on the day of our shoot. Wether you are a full-time professional photographer shooting commercial work, a part-time photographer capturing weddings, or even a beginner just photographing landscapes for fun, great weather with the perfect sky can either make or break your final images. But what do you do when the sky in your photos is less than ideal or flat-out dismal? If you can afford it, you can always reshoot the scene another day, or you can take control of the situation by replacing the sky with the perfect amount of clouds and sunshine!

In this tutorial, accomplished fine art and architectural photographer Mike Kelley shares his techniques on how you too can easily replace any boring sky in Photoshop with more dramatic clouds and sunsets quickly and seamlessly. With Mike’s guidance, you will be able to easily turn any cloudless blue sky into a beautiful, partially cloudy afternoon. Was your entire week of shooting ruined by rain and overcast skies? No problem, Mike will show you how you can blend soft sunsets or even bright sunny afternoon skies into your less than ideal final images.

The Raw Sky Library

Not only will you get nine video lessons with Mike showing you how to seamlessly mask new skies into any photograph, but perhaps the most valuable part of this download is the raw sky library we’ve included for you to use in your own work. Mike has taken thousands of images of skies over the course of his career. This amazing sky library includes some of the most beautiful weather patterns captured around the world, including North and South America, Europe, Asia, and New Zealand. We’ve culled through them all and have narrowed them down to the absolute best and most useful 225 files. This entire sky library has been conveniently sorted into different times of day and different levels of cloud cover to give you a sky to fit any situation.

With the purchase of this download, you will receive over 200 high-resolution raw files that you can use royalty free in your own work. These images are organized by time of day and amount of cloud cover so that you can find exactly the type of sky you need for your own sky replacements. If you need clear skies, we have them. Dramatic sunsets? No problem! Peaceful, partially cloudy midday skies? Yes, we have included those as well. Since each of these sky photographs are between 24- 50 megapixels, not only do you have super-high-resolution files for your largest projects, but you can also crop, stretch, and zoom in on any section of the sky to make your composites even more unique. Best of all, when this tutorial is purchased through the Fstoppers store, you will receive a perpetual royalty-free license, so you can instantly begin using these sky replacement files in both personal and commercial work 100 percent legally!

What’s Covered in the Lessons

Mike Kelley’s Ultimate Sky Library isn’t just a collection of beautiful sky files. You will also receive nine unique lessons that will help you learn to master sky replacements no matter what your current skill level. In the first few lessons, Mike starts off with some of the easiest masking techniques to help those who are new to Photoshop get up and running quickly. As each lesson progresses, Mike begins to build up to some of the most complex masking and blending techniques he uses daily in his own high-end architectural and commercial work. Each of these lessons includes all the files needed to follow alongside as Mike works through his edits in Lightroom and Photoshop.

Below is an outline of some of the blending and masking tools Mike uses throughout this tutorial.

Lesson 1

Mike combines a foreground from Iceland and a sky from Charleston, SC while teaching basic color-matching and masking techniques in Photoshop. This lesson is aimed at helping you blend skies quickly and easily while understanding the fundamentals of layer masks.

Lesson 2

In this lesson, Mike introduces the “blend if” mode and shows how it can save a lot of time when trying to mask out and replace a sky quickly with minimal effort. This chapter also explores replacing skies in portraiture and wedding photography.

Lesson 3

The complexity of this lesson ramps up as Mike explores how channel masking works. Throughout this lesson, Mike continues to refine and explore some of the finer masking techniques needed to replace a boring sky against a complex Manhattan skyline.

Lesson 4

Mike combines multiple replacement techniques in this lesson as he faces a much more challenging setting. In this lesson, Mike introduces the pen tool and shows how you can make sky replacements look more realistic when dealing with translucent surfaces, reflections, and complex tree lines.

Lesson 5

To show how powerful sky replacements can be for commercial work, Mike takes a dull, cloudy scene and transforms the images into a bright and sunny afternoon. This section is aimed at helping photographers tackle difficult shooting conditions while still delivering final images your clients have come to expect regardless of the weather.

Lesson 6

Chapter 6 finds Mike challenging himself to edit a JPEG of a dull, blue landscape and transform it into a spectacular sunrise picture. In this lesson, Mike shows how you can turn horizontal photos into vertical photos by expanding your canvas and increasing the amount of dramatic sky shown in the final composition.

Lessons 7-9

For the final sections of the tutorial, we wanted Mike to mix it up a bit. In these last three lessons, Mike edits three of his own portfolio images to show you how he creates the beautiful and seamless sky replacements he is known for in his commercial work. While these lessons do not include workalong files, our hope is that you will be able to take all of the tips and tricks Mike has taught throughout the tutorial and understand how he applies them in his own work.

With the Purchase of This Tutorial, You Get

  • 3 Hours of Video Content (4K high-res videos)
  • 9 Lessons
  • 6 Working Files to Work Side By Side With Mike
  • 225 High-Res Raw Files of Every Type of Sky
  • Royalty-Free License to Use in Your Own Work

Topics Covered in This Tutorial

  • Understanding Simple Masking
  • Creating and Using Luminosity Masks
  • Mastering Selections
  • Creating Gradient Masks
  • Making Precise Masks With the Pen Tool
  • Feathering and Fine-Tuning Mask Selections
  • Using the “Blend If” Options in Photoshop
  • Matching Lighting With Natural Replacement Skies
  • Maintaining Constant Color Throughout a Sky Replacement
  • Blending Skies in Water, Reflective Surfaces, and Translucent Materials
  • How to Use Color Filters to Tie Everything Together
  • Making Realistic Masks Around Trees and Complex Horizons



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