Photo editing masterclass: How to balance sky and sea brightness

Photo editing masterclass - Christian Schoter (After) Amateur Photographer

Photoshop guru Martin Evening shows you how to balance sky and sea brightness


Before Amateur Photographer

Christian Schoter took this photograph in Brixham, Devon. The low light meant he had to use a tripod for the 25-second exposure at f/22 and ISO 100. Taking into account the wideangle lens, there was no need to use f/22. An aperture of f/8 would have given adequate depth of field and better optical sharpness. A shorter exposure and a higher ISO would also have ensured less movement of the boats. That said, this is a terrific shot that simply needed a couple of Graduated Filter adjustments to balance sky and sea brightness.

After Amateur Photographer
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1. Straighten the horizon

The horizon in this photograph was at a slight angle, so I selected the Straighten tool and dragged across the horizon line to level it. In the Basic panel, I adjusted the tone sliders to lighten the image and bring out more detail in the Highlights and Shadows, and increased the Vibrance.

2. Darken the sky

I then selected the Graduated Filter tool and dragged from the top to the horizon to add a filter adjustment the sky. I then adjusted the Exposure slider to darken. I added more Clarity to increase contrast in the clouds, which I further enhanced by darkening the Shadows and lightening the Highlights sliders.

3. Lighten the sky

After that, I added a second Graduated Filter effect to lighten the sea. Lastly, I selected the Radial Filter and added an adjustment to the middle section, where I increased the Shadows to lighten the darker areas in this selected area, and also boosted the Clarity to give the illuminated buildings more sparkle.

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