Lightroom Tip: Luminance to Improve the Skies in Your Photos

Improve the skies in your photography with Lighroom

Luminance is defined as the measure of the luminous intensity per the unit area of light moving in any given direction. In Lightroom, though, it’s a feature that can help you get the most out of images that display the sky. If you want to show an intense sky, then familiarize yourself with the Luminance panel.

We’re going to walk you through exactly how you can be in full control of how the sky appears in your photos.

Conventional Wisdom Is Wrong

The conventional wisdom is that it’s easy to take snapshots of beautiful, sunny days with blue skies and have them turn out properly. Actually, if your subject is in the shade or has his back to the sun, you’ll typically end up with a lackluster or “blown-out” sky since it’s difficult for your camera to read details from out of the shadows.


Image From Like Success

There are a few Lightroom options available to you at this stage.

You could go straightaway to the saturation slider, yet this will just make the colors more vibrant overall. This isn’t what you want since you’re just after improving the sky. Another problem is that fumbling around with saturation can get tricky: You could inadvertently change skin tones and other delicate parts of your images.

The Luminance Feature

The clear solution to this obstacle lies in going to the Hue/Saturation/Luminance panel, where you can specifically home in on all colors, granting you finer control than the saturation slider ever could!

Since messing with the saturation—even by a moderate amount—can have drastic and unintended results on your photo (such as cartoonish effects), you should instead drop the luminance for your desired sky effects. Start out with the blue luminance slider; yes, it’s no coincidence that the sky is blue and you’re fiddling with the blue luminance slider.


Image From Gaby Awad Photography

Moving this slider into the negative will take out some of the blue color’s luminosity from your sky. As a result, you’re left with a noticeably darker and bolder sky that simply looks more intense to your viewers. This just illustrates how the luminance slider is perfect for adjusting your photos to where you want, without ruining the non-blue parts of your photos.

We have a lot more helpful and easy-to-implement Lightroom tips coming up. They’ll empower you to get so much more out of Lightroom while also drastically improving the quality of your images, so keep reading this blog!

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