I can’t remember where I first saw this tutorial, but its been around for a couple of years and it ’s a very quick and easy fix for blown out skies.
You can borrow my horrible image to practise on if you like, copyright is mine etc., The image was taken on an overcast, hazy day and probably really wouldn’t be worth keeping, but there will be images that you have with a blown out sky that are worth keeping.
Open the image in Photoshop and duplicate the layer by pressing Ctrl + J on the keyboard or dragging it to the create new layer icon at the bottom of the layers palette. On the side toolbar select the rectangular marquee tool – reference the image below and make your selection is in a similar place. You can selecting the blown out sky and down into the tree area to get any patches that may be showing through the trees.
You should have the marching ants showing. Create a Selective Colour adjustment layer by clicking on the little ying yang symbol at the bottom of the layers palette and selecting Selective Colour. The marching ants will disappear, that’s OK. At the bottom of the selective colour dialogue choose Absolute (see image) and from the drop down menu at the top choose White. Fiddle with the sliders until you get a colour that you like – you can make the colour quite strong because you will be able to take the opacity down later and change the colour altogether if you like (the joys of adjustment layers). I’ve gone a little nuts with my colour to show you how well it works.
Make sure your f/ground colour is set to black and the b/ground to white. Click on the mask to make sure you are working on it, then go to Filter>Render>Clouds – you can just click on clouds, or you can hold down the shift key when you click on clouds to get a more intense result. After you have applied the clouds filter you can also use Ctrl + F to get a different effect.
I doubled clicked on the Selective Colour thumbnail and changed the colour, I also took the layer opacity down to 65%. Here is the final image and then a comparison image – Have fun!