Lightroom 5 Tutorial – Enhanced Clouds

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Bad weather can be a photographer’s best friend. It creates dramatic and interesting scenes that can look spectacular to the viewer.

For many of you who are just beginning with Adobe Lightroom 5, here’s a quick tutorial to show you how to enhance the clouds (and sky) in your photos for a more dramatic feel.

To achieve the effect, we use the Brush Tool in Lightroom to ‘Brush on’ the desired effect. To make this easy for you, I’ve created a free preset you can download and install (see below).

These before and after images show the effect of the preset:

Example1 Example2 Example3

Step 1: Download and Install Preset

Click Here to download preset.

If you haven’t installed Lightroom presets before, follow this tutorial to install it.

Step 2: Select the Preset and Brush on the Effect

In the Develop Module, select the Brush Tool and then the JH Enhance Clouds preset from the drop down. Paint over your sky and clouds.  Toggle the Overlay frequently to check the coverage (Keyboard Shortcut ‘O’).

Tip: I recommend you turn off the Auto Mask option when painting over the sky. I often find the different tones and contrasts in a sky confuse it and produce undesirable effects.

Don’t worry if you paint over the horizon, use the Erase Brush with Auto Mask on. This makes it easy to erase off the overflow.

Step 3: Final Tweaks

The preset has great results out of the box, but there are some tweaks you can make to enhance your photo even more, depending on the subject.

For a darker/stormier effect, reduce the saturation, highlights and shadows a little more and consider adjusting the White Balance, (or use the Colour setting) to add a touch of purple or dark green to your clouds.

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