I try to become a better landscape photographer. I try to invest more in traveling to unique places than in new gear and I get a lot of good pictures but only a very small fraction of them stands out. Also I try to get out early and also late to get the best light. I even camp at certain locations to be there very early in the morning.
I often encounter sunrises where its just getting brighter and brighter without any golden light or dramatic looking clouds. This leads me to revisiting places again and again but most the time there are
- too many clouds
- no clouds at all - doesnt give a pleasing look
- nice amount of clouds but no dramatic colors.
Same applies for sunset. It is a little bit frustrating sometimes. Before I try to capture an image I check the weather in my weather app and I look up when sunrise is going to happen and from which direction. So far so good but nothing of that guarantees me a nice sunrise.
Of course this is something unpredictable but when I look at some landscape photographers portfolio (eg. Elia Locardi) I see a huge amount of images with very nice skies and gorgeous light. I cant imagine how often I would need to get to such locations again and again to be that lucky. This would require more time than I could invest and would also cost a lot of money.
Im now asking myself wether sky replacement in an editing software is used with some images. I watched a lot of online courses of such photographers and they almost never talk about replacing skies. Maybe this is something that they commonly do but don't like to talk about it because it is some kind of cheating.
Replacing a sky is not something that I would like to do to get better pictures. But as a professional I would understand that there is a certain pressure to deliver appealing pictures.
My question is: Do professional landscape photographers tend to replace skies? Is this something that is commonly done or not? Do they hesitate talking about it since it's some kind of faking? And how do they get so many nice images with nice sunrises and sunsets without replacing skies?