Photoshop Tips: How to Create Spectacular Star Trail Photographs of Nighttime Skies (VIDEO)

Star trail photos of nighttime skies are among the most spectacular images captured by astrophotographers. In the tutorial below you learn an image-stacking technique for creating dramatic star trail photos of your own.

Astrophotography expert Mike Ver Sprill (AKA Milky Way Mike) begins by importing a number of images shot at different exposures into Lightroom. He explains that the underexposed shots provide more color for the sky, while the brighter images increase foreground shadow detail.

The next step is making basic adjustments in Lightroom to vibrance and saturation, white balance, and sharpening. He then adds gradient filters to both the foreground and the sky shots.

After exporting the images to Photoshop, it’s a simple matter to eliminate satellite and airplane trails, adjust the opacity of the sky, and merge the star trail layer with the foreground layer. At that point all that’s left is a bit of cleanup to arrive at the final result.

You can find more astrophotography tips on the Milky Way Mike YouTube channel. And don’t miss our recent story with four great tips for shooting stellar photographs of nighttime skies.

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