Fix dull skies in Affinity Photo
Swap out gray clouds with Serif’s photo-editing app on your iPad
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.