Creativity Exercise: Big Sky

We talk a lot about shooting indoors and making your home a secondary character in your images, but this week, let’s GET OUTSIDE.

In this week’s exercise we’re going to make the sky the secondary character (or maybe even the primary character) by working on integrating it into your images.


The sky, if you let it, can often tell such a beautiful story that can add colour and depth to your images.

Screen Shot 2019-06-12 at 11.31.24 AM.png

Bight clear blue, white fluffy clouds, dark stormy skies, golden setting sun….all can be used, and each can help set the mood for your image.


Integrating sky will most likely lend itself well to an image that utilizes the sky as negative space, but it doesn’t have to. You can get creative by shooting up and using the sky as a backdrop for action, or by reflecting it in your image (via a puddle or lake, or even using a prism.)

To have the sky take up a large portion of your image, you’ll want to get low. If shooting straight on at your subjects, it’ll likely be helpful to get down onto the ground and shoot up just slightly. Or you can compose as you normally would and then back WAY up and re-compose so that you can include more sky in your scene.


It can also be really helpful to have your subject on a hill or on other higher ground so that they have the sky as the entire background.

Keep in mind that you’ll most likely want to expose for the sky so that you don’t blow it out. This means that your subject (whether it’s a person or an object/structure) will be under exposed and will require some help via editing. I find it easiest to expose the sky bright, but without blowing highlights, then in post production, use a graduated filter to bring the exposure of the sky down and a brush to bring the exposure of the subject up. (Or you can use a graduated filter and then the erase brush within the graduated filter tool to bring your subjects back up.)

Try this exercise at different times of the day, when the sun is in the east, when it’s high, when it’s low in the west….what do you like best?

Try it in different weather. Do you like bright blue or stormy grey better?


As always, have fun!

I’d love to see what you come up with. Make sure to keep tagging us @unscriptedmentoring on Instagram.

Big skies,