Free sky images?

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18
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As I recently purchased Luminar 4, I am impressed by its "sky replacement" capabilities. However, I am quite disapointed by the limited number of "skies" available. Soon, everyone will have the same sky in their photos :) While I started taking sky pictures and building a "sky database", I am wondering if there are any free sources where one could download sky photos. I am interested in downloading for personal use only, i.e. family photos.
 

EJB

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106
Name
Ted
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I used to take my own and adopt them with PS Elements 2.:oops: :$
 
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2,538
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Bruce
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I’m amazed at the free stuff available out there. Never heard of this before, nice if you’re looking for a backdrop
 
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387
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David
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A lot of photographers collect them over time. I could do with some more myself but could not use a sky from someone else as very few competitions will allow us to use any image or part of an image which has not been captured by you.

Dave
 
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1,172
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Adam
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Funny you should mention that as i took 3 sky pictures on my walk to add to my library ;)
 
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1
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Have you tried going through your own photographs, to see if any of them have nice skies that could be resused somewhere else? It's more labour intensive, but it might be worth it.
 

4wd

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North York Moors
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My reply above may have seemed cruel to the OP, but everyone seems to expects free images now and sky replacements seem to have become the norm, especially since promotion for Luminar v4 seemed to revolve around them.

It makes me very disillusioned indeed.
Luminar 4 does make a good job with so little effort.
You can blend with your own washed out or featureless blue/grey sky and sometimes the results can be undetectable, worthwhile and can transform a rather dull shot.
Is it cheating, kind of, does it matter, not much..
You can change how the sky looks by various techniques such as exposure blending or ND filters they could all be considered cheating in a way.
 
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Jeremy Moore
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It kind of is - yes. Or, depending on your understanding of photography - entirely!

These arguments have been had here over many years (I've participated in some of them) but buying "a sky", or even using one of your own, and replacing a genuine sky with it is just fakery. It is in a different league to exposure blending or using ND filters. I'm surprised that every photographer can't see that!

As I said, it makes me very unhappy about the future of photography.
 
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3,498
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Mark
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It kind of is - yes. Or, depending on your understanding of photography - entirely!

These arguments have been had here over many years (I've participated in some of them) but buying "a sky", or even using one of your own, and replacing a genuine sky with it is just fakery. It is in a different league to exposure blending or using ND filters. I'm surprised that every photographer can't see that!

As I said, it makes me very unhappy about the future of photography.
Whilst it’s ‘not for me’ most of us are in the realm of digital photography/imaging and I think we forget sometimes that you and I use a computer to create photos whether or not that computer looks like a dslr or a laptop there is precious little difference between them.

I’m very much a ‘if the end result works’ then who am I to criticise. I would caveat that with most digital ‘art’ doesn’t work (at least for me) but I’m not adverse to the small percentage of digital imaging that does work.
 

LongLensPhotography

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15,449
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[Censored]
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As I said, it makes me very unhappy about the future of photography.
It is going into multiple directions, just like any form of art has done for ages. Subscribe to the ones you like, and likewise I can't promise that I will share any of those sentiments. Of course there is nothing worse than shoddy work with obvious mismatches from incompatible lighting to rough edges. I wouldn't trust some AI software to do it for me, but I guess it doesn't hurt to try. It's only art if you do it all (incl. all layers) and make your own decisions.
 
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387
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David
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I was only tempted to replace a sky about 20 years ago with an artificial sky and entered in a club competition it was a digitised slide of Venice. The judge righty criticised the image suggesting there was something not right with the sky. One of the experienced member spoke to me and I explained what I had done. He suggested that I take another look at the original and do more to bring out the details etc. I followed his advice and realise that I had been too quick to dismiss the original sky. So I reprocessed and printed again and entered in the next competition and it won. I have been very wary of replacement skies since but happy to use multiple exposures, This is hardly ever necessary now I have a camera with nearly 14 stops dynamic range.

Dave
 
OP
D
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18
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My intent for replacing skies is definitely not to participate in competitions. Just to use them in some family photos where the original sky is bland or under/overexposed. I had this idea when I looked at a picture of my kids in front of the university where I graduated. The kids were in the shade and the exposure made the sky washed out, even though it was a beautiful sky with clouds.
 
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154
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Phil Maddocks
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I definitely don't mind people doing it and if you are good and can get the sun in the right position/colours right then it can look completely real. But if you do, be honest about it and own the quality of your post processing skills.

What annoys me more than anything is when people do sky replacements and try to pass them off as an actual photograph they took. For example I came across a photograph of St Pauls in London taken from One New Change called "Starry Nights in London" and it was St Pauls against this amazing back drop of stars and even a hint of the Milky Way on the Horizon. The photographer even posted his settings and in the comments was telling people how they could take this shot themselves. Unfortunately if anyone actually attempted it they would be sorely disappointed...For one the light pollution in London is so bad you end up with a milky sky with no stars....

And secondly the hint of the Milky Way had the core going left to right.....which only happens in the Southern Hemisphere....which if first bit wasn't a give a way at a sky replacement...this was.

Another pet peeve is people putting random objects into their photos like Moons. If you are going to do it, at least get it in the right orientation!
 
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154
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Phil Maddocks
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I
Certainly need something like this in NE Scotland at the moment.
Be as well photographing a grey card :rolleyes:
Been so murky lately
I hope that changes soon, I am off to Loch Lomond in a few weeks!
 

LongLensPhotography

Th..th..that's all folks!
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[Censored]
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all images on the site are free = plenty of different skies on there
You HOPE they are free but really you don't know. There is nothing stopping somebody lifting high res image for example from flickr where one is accidentally left available and then boom copyright claim lands on your doorstep. I had found some poisonous examples on one of the free stock sites when I did a little search exercise. Unless it's for offline personal use I wouldn't touch it unless perhaps you only use a small tiny fragment that would never be identifiable in the context of broader work scope.

And no, there is nothing incompatible with publishing high res images without watermark and copyright. They are not mutually exclusive at all. Even with the CC license designation it could be later reversed and you may have hard time proving so. Just stay the hell away from it.

In fact I doubt these stock sites are that much different from "free wallpapers" pirates, where everything is free and jolly and idiots are paying off my lawyers now.
 
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LongLensPhotography

Th..th..that's all folks!
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what did you try to say specifically please?

There is nothing stopping anyone creating a fake account and uploading some nicked high res images. After lawsuits start landing the company will not help you with anything. Use at your own risk.
Who in their sane mind would upload their hard work to be used for profit without compensation and attribution? Perhaps taken with hasselblad too because why not? This is effectively crazy, and beyond.
 
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7,698
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David
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Who in their sane mind would upload their hard work to be used for profit without compensation and attribution?
Billions of us are happy to upload our hard work to share with whoever.

But I can see this is a worrying trend for 'professionals'.
 

LongLensPhotography

Th..th..that's all folks!
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[Censored]
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Billions of us are happy to upload our hard work to share with whoever.

But I can see this is a worrying trend for 'professionals'.
Share on flickr, 500px or instagram but maybe not donate your hard work to the 1% of the 1%. It is your choice anyway. The point is the other way round that some of that donated content may not be donated at all but a lawsuit in a waiting. Why risk?
 
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A really cynical photographer would probably upload some tempting images to a free stock site themselves. Might be easier to get a payout via Pixsy than making a sale.
 
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