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Hi All,

I was wondering if you could help me out, I am having problems capturing the blueness of the sky, the camera doesnt pick up what I am seeing and the sky is often washed out (grey, white).

I took some portfolio pics this w/e of models in different clothing, it was a nice day with a blue sky but when reviewing my pictures now I realised I did not capture the sky to its true glory.

I played around with the WB, setting it to auto/cloudy/shade/sunny etc but then the picture was losing the impact of the main focus of the clothes and model.

is there a technique to this without doing it in post production? do I need a filter? or do I change the contrast settings?

Any help will be greatly appreciated.

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In this photo not only is the sky bright (I think this was shot at noon), but I have deliberately placed the subject in solid shade so that he doesn't have to look into brightness and get all squinty. A polarizing filter helped darken the blue sky, but basically I just set the exposure (shutter, aperture, and ISO) to get what I wanted out of the sky, and then I turned up the flash (increase power or move it closer) until I got the exposure I wanted on the subject. The flash was a speedlight on a stand with a 16x20ish softbox. Using low powered lights like speedlights it's an advantage to get the flash off camera not only because it often looks better, but because you may need to get the flash close to get the power to close the contrast gap between the subject and the sky.

Without flash

With flash

Agree with this. Meter for the sky and then add fill flash. You probably have to reduce the flash exposure down to -1 or -2.
Besides shooting in raw , afterward there is a plug in in photoshop to convert it to velvia or provia which will render what you are looking for

thanks for the tip, to be honest Im am not too clued up on photoshop, hence why I wanted to capture the bluer sky before any post production, but I guess I just have to practice and increase my skills in photoshop.

many thanks
Forget about Photoshop! Pretend it doesn't exist and that all you have to work with is film so you have to get it right in the initial exposure then look at the suggestions given here. Some are very good. If you do it right in the camera there'll be much less need to use Photoshop. Photoshop is a wonderful tool but it will never be a substitute for good lenswork.
Reading the varied responses to this question is very educational. There is a great lack of understanding among participants of the nature of the problem is that Jas is describing. When the scene brightness range (number of tones in the scene; f-stops for those who understand what aperture numbers mean) of the scene being portrayed exceeds the capability of the chosen media to record, the result is either washed out highlights, such as a sky with no color in it, or shadows that are black with no detail. I don't know what that number is in a digital workspace but I would suspect it is somewhere in the range of four or five f-stops. Even in everyone's beloved Camera RAW the ability of the media to capture a range of tones is limited. THE ONLY CURE IS EITHER A FILL CARD OR PANEL OR A FILL FLASH. No filter, plug in, or post production technique of any kind will put detail back into an area where none was recorded. Once the shutter opens and closes it is too late if the exposure wasn't correct to begin with.
Dynamic range on a digital SLR sensor is a lot more than four or five f-stops these days :) But yes, you are pointing to the root of the problem.
Manually color balancing is the best way to get the most accurate color results. Along with that in some cases a fill flash will be needed. One of the problems that a lot of amateurs (like myself) have is they take photos when it is most convenient rather than when the conditions are best. Beyond technical skill, and good composition this is probably the biggest difference between a photo by an amateur and one by a pro. I use to say "I have to take photos when I can " but if you want great photos and the conditions are not right to get them why bother? If you can't find the time you will just have to wait until what is convenient is also the right conditions. If you are not getting the sky that you see along with the rest of the composition it is likely a issue of color balance and lack of any type of fill in lighting like a fill flash.
Education in photo editing using Photoshop is the easiest way to change parts of your photo. Get a good instructor. It is fantastic what one can do with these photos on the computer. You can enhance your sky with very little trouble. Go to the local college and take a class. You will love it!
Try using a ND grad filter or a good polarizer filter, although you can rescue some of it in PS but your better off getting it at capture.


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