How to Process Milky Way Photos

The Milky Way is one of the most awe-inspiring sights you’ll ever photograph, but it can be tricky to post-process the RAW images into something that truly captures the experience. In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to use RAW processing and luminosity masks to create gorgeous night skies. Be sure to see the list below with several more tutorials to help improve your night sky images using Photoshop and Lumenzia.

Key steps for making the Milky Way pop in your images:

  • Proper white balance in RAW. The colors are subtle and can easily get lost if you don’t spend the time to get the right balance.
  • Use the camera calibration tab to boost color.
  • Lighten the Milky Way using something like a +brightness adjustment revealed through a lights luminosity mask. In Lumenzia: create the adjustment, alt/option-click mask for a black mask, then L for a lights preview, slide or customize if needed, “Sel” to convert the preview into a selection, and then paint white through the selection onto the mask to brighten the light parts of the Milky Way.
  • Darken the surrounding sky using something like a -brightness adjustment revealed through a darks luminosity mask.

Other related tutorials for shooting and editing images of the night sky:

Greg Benz Photography