How to edit your aviation photography for best results: steps 6-10
06 Darken the sky
Add a Levels adjustment layer, and move the Midtones slider right to around 0.93 to darken the sky. This will darken the rest of the image too, so hold down Alt, and click on the line between the masked layer and Levels layer to create a clipping mask: the Levels adjustment will now affect only the visible areas of the masked layer, so only the sky will be darkened.
07 Add a new layer
Next we’ll draw a gradient to enhance the sky further. Add a new layer at the top of the stack, and click the line between this layer and the Levels layer to add it to the clipping group. Take the Gradient tool, click the button next to the gradient swatch, and choose Foreground to Transparent. Click the Linear Gradient button, and check the Transparency box.
08 Draw a gradient
Click on the foreground colour swatch in the Tools palette to open the Colour Picker. Click on a dark tone in the sky to make this the foreground colour, and click OK. Hold down Shift, and draw a gradient from the top of the image down to the horizon. Change the gradient layer’s blending mode to Multiply to intensify the effect, and reduce the Opacity to around 65%.
09 Lighten foreground
Click the top layer in the Layers panel, and press Ctrl+Alt+Shift+E to create a merged layer. Take the Dodge tool, and set Range to Midtones, Exposure to 25% and the brush size to 900 pixels. Brush over the runway and grass to lighten those areas, and create more contrast between the foreground and the sky.
10 Boost colour and contrast
To increase the overall contrast of the image add a Levels adjustment layer at the top of the layer stack, and set the Shadows slider to 9 and the Highlights slider to 251. To give the colours a boost add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer, and set the Master Saturation to +19.
PAGE 1: Best camera settings for aviation photography
PAGE 2: How to compose pictures of airplanes
PAGE 3: How to take pictures of airplanes at air shows
PAGE 4: How to edit your aviation photography for best results: steps 1-5
PAGE 5: How to edit your aviation photography for best results: steps 6-10
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