Fix dull skies in Affin­ity Photo

Swap out gray clouds with Serif’s photo-edit­ing app on your iPad

Mac|Life - - CONTENTS - IanEven­den

Mod­ern dig­i­tal cam­eras have a prob­lem. Ac­tu­ally, they have sev­eral, but one that is en­coun­tered time and time again is a lack of dy­namic range — the in­abil­ity to cap­ture both very light and very dark tones in an im­age.

This leads to ei­ther a sil­hou­ette, where a dark sub­ject — be that be­cause your sub­ject is ac­tu­ally dark, or merely darker than an ex­tremely bright back­drop — is un­rec­og­niz­able ex­cept for its out­line against a per­fectly ex­posed back­ground, or a nicely ex­posed sub­ject with the sky be­hind them washed out to pure white.

If you’re get­ting such shots, it’s of­ten a good idea to take a pic­ture of the sky with no ob­struc­tions so you can com­pos­ite it in later, cre­at­ing a kind of HDR im­age with both sub­ject and sky prop­erly ex­posed. This is es­pe­cially use­ful when you’ve been shoot­ing fast–mov­ing ob­jects such as planes, when you might not get much time to play around with your set­tings.

There are other rea­sons to re­place a sky, of course — you could have been tak­ing photos on a gray win­ter’s day, and want to turn it to glo­ri­ous sum­mer, or just to im­prove the over­all look and feel of an im­age. A new sky can com­pletely change the mood of a pho­to­graph, bring­ing warmth where there was cold­ness, or re­mov­ing a sense of fore­bod­ing caused by storm clouds pil­ing up on the hori­zon.

Affin­ity Photo on iPad makes it easy to re­place a sky. With its se­lec­tion tools you can choose ex­actly which parts of an im­age you want to change, and the abil­ity to use lay­ers en­ables you to blend your new sky in with what’s al­ready there. Here, we’ll use Affin­ity Photo to brighten up a cold, gray back­drop by past­ing in a more sum­mery sky be­hind a Catalina sea­plane. The tech­nique works great for sub­jects set against the sky like this, yet is also ex­cel­lent for brightening land­scape shots. Or you could go in the op­po­site di­rec­tion, of course.

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