A few months ago I went to go take a picture of the Milky Way. In order to avoid forgetting how to deal with the Galaxy photos the next time you shoot, take down these notes, because there are not many opportunities to shoot the Galaxy.

Before learning:

  1. You need to use Photoshop CC for post-production, please click Photoshop CC-Download and Install guide to install Photoshop CC first;
  2. This time we’ll take a RAW file to be modified, suggest that students first understand the importance of reading a RAW file!


The longest exposure is 30 seconds, otherwise it will not just be a little star, but a star trail. Just set the aperture near maximum.
Photo reference parameters: ISO 1600 25 sec f / 3.2. With newer SLR cameras, you should be able to drive a little larger ISO. Currently only 500D is used, and noise will be more serious in the case of high ISO, so use 1600.

Leaflet Processing

Open the Raw file of the photo with Photoshop and tune the White Balance, so that the photo is not too yellow or too red. You can try to adjust Highlights, Whites, Contrast, increase the values, and decrease the values of Blacks. It makes us feel like the the Galaxy is more prominent and is pleasing to the eye.


Then open the picture to figure out the galaxy again. Duplicate the layer of the photo and use Filter> Sharpen> Unsharp Mask. Amount and Radius can be adjusted, don’t go too far. Then open a Layer Mask, wipe off the part that is not the galaxy, and put Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur on the Layer Mask to feather the edges of the Mask. It is fine to tune to a galaxy subject without blurring the edges.

You can pay attention to the configuration of the different layers at the bottom right.

Then merge the layers to make other changes, such as changing the contrast to make the galaxy more prominent. Hold the plane’s lights. This can be done with the stamp tool to remove the relevant lights.

It has been greatly improved.

What if it’s too dark below? You can create a new layer on this galaxy layer, place the original image, and then go under the light. Or re-open a new file, dimming it under Raw, and then placing the picture on the new layer (this time the bottom is dimmed). Get another Layer Mask and use the Gradient Tool to paint away where the Milky Way will show up.

You can pay attention to the configuration of the different layers at the bottom right.

Finally, you can look at the version in Raw and the version after the release.

This time it was done fast, so a lot of parts were not done so carefully. Of course, there are different ways to modify it. I have used this method for the time being, and it works well. 

The superposition effect mentioned on this page is good, simple and easy to understand. You can refer to the method using Deep Sky Stacker (DSS). For the time being, there is no flat field and bias, and it feels good. Of course, if there are related files, the effect should be better.


Author: John Chan