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Photoshop for night photography (further information)

An introduction to the ‘Photoshop for night photography’ tutorial

In many ways the post-production skills you need to process low light or night shots are no different to those you would use for images taken during daylight hours, but there are a number of technical and aesthetic issues that become more salient when processing this type of image. These include: visualising the final image, altering the white balance – either to compensate for sodium light pollution (common in many night shots, particularly in urban environments) or to creatively manipulate an image – shooting ‘point’ light sources, and merging multiple exposures.

In addition this tutorial also discusses a range of technical considerations relevant to shooting at night. These include: focussing (a non-trivial task when shooting in the dark), setting ISO, determining the correct exposure, and noise reduction.

The specific topics covered include:

  • How to shoot at night.
  • Visualising the final image.
  • Determining the correct exposure.
  • Setting the white balance.
  • Altering the white balance during post-production.
  • Shooting ‘point’ light sources.
  • Merging multiple exposures.
  • Shooting fireworks.
  • Post-producing fireworks shots.

This tutorial contains 6468 words, 81 illustrative images and screen grabs, and has received 16 comments.

Photoshop files included with this tutorial

Each of our tutorials is based around a series of Photoshop files, at the resolution originally posted on chromasia, and each contains all the original adjustment layers I used to create the final image. The ones that are included in this tutorial, and a brief description of how each one will be used, are listed below – the ‘before’ version on the left, the ‘after’ version on the right. Each of these files can be downloaded after you subscribe.

How to get from this … to this
Image 1
In this example, in addition to discussing a variety of tools and techniques you can use to adjust the tone and balance of an image, we will also cover how to ensure that your night shots are correctly exposed.
Image 2
In this example we will discuss a variety of techniques that can be used to alter the white balance of an image. These include correcting the orange cast introduced by sodium lighting and altering the white balance for creative effect.
Image 3
In this example we will cover two topics: shooting ‘point’ light sources and merging multiple exposures to minimise highlight clipping.
Image 4
In this example we will discuss how to shoot and post-produce images of fireworks.
What our subscribers have said about this tutorial

"You make it all seem so easy David and the clear step by step process really helps to explain how it's the incremental little, basic changes, make all the difference in the final complete image. Great as always."

Justin Photis

"I totally agree with Justin. With your explanation every step makes sense. I think that after taking this tutorial IĞm gonna adjust my workflow and include a step where I question the balance of my images. Looking forward to the next tutorial!"


"A great tutorial. Night shots have frustrated me for some time. This information helped tremendously."

Jean Eichenlaub

"Oooo Been waiting for this one so thank you!"


Content overview (the rollover graphics and embedded videos are not illustrated)
page 1 page 2 page 3 page 4 page 5
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To find out more about our other individual tutorials please click any of the following images. Alternatively, you can visit our main tutorials page for further information on: our annual subscriptions; our forthcoming issues; and our current members’s offer. You can also read through our sample tutorial on Tonal Range and the Curves tool.

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HomeOnline tutorials16 comments 
Photoshop for night photography (further information)