How to Replace Overcast Skies in Real Estate Photography

overcast skies - real estate

Cloudy or rainy days pose an irritable feel to what could have been a good day for a photo shoot. But to be quite honest, not all is lost. While there exists the removal of real estate overcast skies technique, our camera and gear can also serve as aids in minimizing the overcast before the photos hit the computer. In this overcast skies’ tutorial, we will see how to take advantage of these two stages, so you don’t dump all the hard work to the post processing stage. It is also important to note that in this real estate overcast skies technique, there are several software options to choose from and throughout the overcast skies’ tutorial, the most known steps will be outlined.

Photo shoot Techniques to Bring Out that Sunny Day

Being prepared is the key to achieving a successful shoot for any type of weather condition. Bringing all your gear to every shoot may sound like a hassle but will surely work to your advantage on very unpredictable days. Having said this, the real estate overcast skies technique relies not only on the editing phase but on how well the weather conditions are used to your advantage.

  1. Bringing artificial lighting.

Interior photos take a hit just as exterior photos look glum on days like these. Bringing your own flash and stands can help replicate certain lighting conditions and angles that enable easier editing later on. Such examples for indoors are artificial lighting that can be shone on windows from the outside. This gives an impression of a brighter day coming from the windows shining in. On an exterior point-of-view, there is no artificial lighting equipment that is perhaps big enough to transport to simulate a sunny day. But, bringing along flashes and lighting can help manage showing the true color of the property. As science would dictate, color is a reflection of how light bounces off of it.

  1. Shoot in HDR.

Imagine your camera taking 15 consecutive photos, each photo will focus on the same frame, but will have different exposures. In some areas, the property will be well lit, and as you sequentially view the photos, the property gets darker, but the skies become lighter. HDR or high dynamic range is a camera’s way to take several photos of different ranges of light in wider spectrums. It focuses on different areas of the same photo, making different corners and objects within the image more visible compared to other pictures within the shot. Being a nifty real estate overcast skies technique to help brighten up the photo, HDRs can easily aid the editing part.

  1. Consider bracketing.

Taking bracketed photos will enable stacking them much easier in your editing software. Bracketing works similarly to HDR, the only difference is that bracketed photos have more room to be edited and controlled making the flexibility much higher than HDR. On the flipside, HDR can save you time with its intermediately processed photos, which require little processing. This will give you the same effect of having a property image brighter in some pictures, making the overcast a thing of the past.

Replacing Overcast Skies in Editing

As mentioned, this overcast skies tutorial will cover the most basic and common techniques so you can understand the basics and enable this to help you get started. It is also important that the photo shoot recommendations be done in order to prep the photos, so it won’t take a lot of effort to edit.

  1. Using the layer mask, lasso or pen tool in Photoshop

Start out by using layers. The background layer must contain the sky you want to use and will later surface as the sky that the property will be imposed on. Using either of the three tools, the intents are the same.

Layer masks get rid of the sky, using an easier way of selection that does not require much precision. After selecting the sky, choose to click the add layer mask. But don’t fret over the results, simple invert the selection so that the landscape will be retained instead. Import a stock photo of the sky from your computer onto the layers pane under the Place Embedded options. Voila. A perfectly replaced sky.

The magnetic lasso tool or pen tool works the same way to help you outline the property from an exterior view and cut it out of the photo so it can be pasted onto a stock photo of a sky that is bright and sunny. Following the same steps on the layer mask, import a sky that will complement the image. This now serves as the sky where the property will be embedded.

  1. Using the stacking technique

Stacking is done if you have taken HDR or bracketed photos. Stacking is putting together all of the photos taken with multiple shots of the same image on top of the other to gain better focus on objects within the image. As a real estate overcast skies technique, stacking can give you better image sharpness on a day where lighting is not optimal. It can also serve as a convenient way to start the sky replacement journey especially when Adobe Lightroom is used.

Click Photo then Stacking, then select options that you would like. The ‘Auto-stack by Capture Time’ option stacks the images based on sequence. The result will probably have blurs but that is what the show de-ghosting overlay is for. De-ghosting has three levels to choose from: low, medium, and high

Through this process, the best elements of the image are brought together and cleared up. You might even see a bit of the sky lighten up so you can proceed to adjust the brightness and light distribution in the image.


Looking at how overcast skies are dealt with, there is a simplicity factor but also an element of carefulness. There will be techniques where a disparity is highly visible and those that adjust the photo altogether. What is important to note is that the entire process is not reliant on the editing alone. The real estate overcast skies technique’s success is grounded on how well the photos were taken before they are subjected to post processing and while editing can work wonders, it might entail more work to get the image enhanced perfectly.