Long exposure cloud movement: how to give a sharp sky a slow shutter effect

Long exposure cloud movement: how to give sharp skies a slow shutter speed effect

How to create a long exposure cloud movement effect: steps 7-9

How to create a long exposure cloud movement effect: step 7

7 Improve the composition
Once you’ve blurred the clouds, the sky will become the most interesting part of the scene, so use the Crop tool to remove some of the unwanted foreground at the bottom of the frame. This small change enables the sky to dominate the landscape.

 

How to create a long exposure cloud movement effect: step 8

8 Sharpen the image
Click the Detail tab, and zoom in to view the image at 100% so that you can see how sharp areas really are. Drag the Sharpening Amount slider to 64, and set Radius to 1.5. This gives the texture in the image more bite without the effect looking artificial.

 

How to create a long exposure cloud movement effect: step 9

9 Switch to Elements
Now that you’ve done all you can to improve the landscape’s colour, tone, composition and sharpness, click Open Image. This takes the shot into the standard Elements editor, where you can access more creative image-editing tools.

READ MORE
10 common camera mistakes every photographer makes
101 Photoshop tips you really have to know
Best Photo Editing Software? 6 budget alternatives to Photoshop tested and rate
24 camera features every beginner must memorise

 

How to create a long exposure cloud movement effect: steps 10-12

How to create a long exposure cloud movement effect: step 10

10 Convert to 8-bit
By changing the bit depth to 16-bit we were able to maximise quality in ACR. However, most of the standard Elements editor’s tools and commands don’t work with 16-bit images, so go to Image > Mode > 8 Bits/Channel to convert the image to 8-bit.

 

How to create a long exposure cloud movement effect: step 11

11 Make a selection
Take the Quick Selection tool from the Tools panel, and click and drag over the sky to create a ‘marching ants’ selection. Click the Subtract From Selection button in the Options bar (or hold down Alt) and paint to deselect any light foreground areas you select by mistake.

 

How to create a long exposure cloud movement effect: step 12

12 Copy the sky
Press Ctrl+J to copy the selected sky to a new layer, which will be named ‘Layer 1’ by default. Press Ctrl+J again (or drag the ‘Layer 1’ thumbnail onto the Create New Layer button in the Layers panel) to create a copy of the sky layer (‘Layer 1 copy’).

PAGE 1 – How to create a long exposure cloud movement effect: steps 1-6
PAGE 2 – How to create a long exposure cloud movement effect: steps 7-12
PAGE 3 – How to create a long exposure cloud movement effect: steps 13-18

READ MORE

Clever ways to shoot flat, lowland terrain
How to shoot dramatic pictures of the sea
Landscape photography ideas for rivers, waterfalls and lakes
Landscape photo ideas for creative pictures of mountains and hills