A Tutorial on the Photo Editing Technique of Replacing Overcast Skies

When we hear of real estate photo editing, the most immediate thing we think of is photo beautification. Well, you’re not wrong. The process of creating a more vibrant photo is always preferred over one that is sulky and just underwhelming to look at. Sales highly depend on how photos communicate to people and an image on the listing that is just sad to look at will not find a buyer to click with. By now you might have guessed that it is the weather conditions that make a difference in real estate photo editing. There may not be clamor from buyers that photos need to look like a sunny day but there is an unspoken secret about this.

Replacing overcast skies photo editing technique is a must in every photographer’s toolkit. There should no longer be any debate when it comes to sky replacement for photos that look really gloomy. In fact, on the days that photo shoots fall on overcasts, photographers must power through, making sure that photography can, as much as possible, set-up the pictures for post-processing. Real estate photo editing then takes over and makes the magic happen.

A Sunny Day Over a Gloomy one

Psychology suggests that the weather impacts a person’s mood. Replacing overcast skies photo editing technique is a way for photographers to use images as a conduit to invoke changes in a buyer’s mood and perspective, swinging it to the more positive side. People are more inclined to be happy, generous, and positive on sunny days compared to gloomy ones. Being on the other side of the spectrum, dark days bring about lonelier feelings which impacts how people make decisions.

Making the Magic Happen

  1. Open the file of the photo you want to edit (one with the overcast sky that requires editing).

Launch the Photoshop application and begin by selecting the image you need to enhance. Take note that when doing your selection, choose one that real estate photo editing can build further on to take advantage of the already existing positives about the image.

  1. Select another file or a stock photo of a sky that resembles a sunny day or one with a clear sky.

Open another image on the same canvas of a bright and sunny sky. If you do not have one, then look for stock photos on the internet and make sure to look for sites that allow using their images, rather than infringing on copyright.

  1. Stretch it so that it covers the range you want to replace. If it covers the property, that’s okay.

Add the image as a layer and you should now see two layers on the layers panel. Go to Edit >> Free Transform to be able to adjust the size of the image, bringing it to the scale of the sky you want to replace (noting that it is okay to cover the structure in the original image).Replacing overcast skies photo editing technique relies on the resolution of the photo being maintained as it is stretched, so picking a good one goes a long way.

  1. Select ‘Blending Options’ on the layer that covers the property.

Hover the mouse over to the layer with the sunny sky. Hit the right click button on your mouse and select the first option called ‘Blending options’.Using the slider with the label ‘underlying layer’, move it to the right to expose the property enough but a complete surfacing is not possible at this point.

  1. Hold the alt key and toggle the same slider. The Toggle will split and moving one on each opposite side will help merge the two layers together better.

At this point you will notice a bit of translucent parts in the property. To further enhance this, split the slider using the alt key, sending each one to opposite directions to further enhance the property’s visibility. This allows you to make micro adjustments on both the bright sky and the property.Click ‘Okay’ and now add a layer mask on the stock photo of the sky.

  1. Invert it using CTRL + I and it should come out as black.

Once the layer mask is added, it will initially come out as white. As most real estate photo editing techniques go, inverting the layer is a must in order to reverse the selection at this point.

  1. Now, go to the layer with the overcast sky and the property. Select the brush tool and set the color to white to bring out the sky in the background.

Selecting the color white to be the color of the brush will ‘wipe out’ anything that is covered in the black layer mask. The concept is counteracting each other to expose any desired area touched on b the brush, which is a critical concept in the replacing overcast skies photo editing technique.

  1. Paint over the sky you want to replace, and you should see the brighter sky emerge.

Simply paint on the property with the overcast sky and this now exposes the brighter sky behind it. Do not worry about painting beyond the lines because technically it only exposes what has been masked and this is the sunny sky.

  1. Correct the color on the photo by toggling the brightness and contrast.

At this point the replacement is done. What you need to do is marry the overall feel of the image to the bright sky, as most of the shade you will find on the property and ground will still match a gloomy weather.


The replacing overcast skies photo editing technique has a bigger impact than most real estate photo editing techniques would have. In a relatively easy set of steps, you can already help your real estate partners make better sales through incited feelings of positivity among their viewers and buyers. This is something that photographers must not overlook and something that should be part of the routine. So, taking a jab at practicing, learning, and executing this tutorial can get you to make this a personal goal so it would be an automatic response down the road. After all, it takes 21 days to build a habit, so why not start today.