Collier's Guide to Post-Processing Night Photos

~ By Grant Collier ~

Photoshop and Lightroom Instruction

Capturing a great night photo with your camera is only half the battle to producing a truly stunning image. In the digital age, you must know how to properly process these images on the computer. An inability to do so can leave you with photos that don't come close to fulfilling their potential.

In his three instructional videos, renowned photographer Grant Collier provides over 7 hours of step-by-step instructions on how to post-process night photos in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop (Versions of Photoshop CS3 thru CC and Lightroom 4 thru CC are recommended). Although these videos are geared towards night photography, you'll be able to apply much of what you learn to your daytime photos as well. Grant has included watermarked practice photos that you can use to follow along with his instruction.

The videos will be delivered as downloadable MP4s (approx. 3GB for all three videos). These videos are best used in conjunction with Grant's book "Collier's Guide to Night Photography," which explains in detail how to capture photos at night. The book also discusses a lot of post-processing techniques, but the videos go into more detail and allow you to follow along with step-by-step instructions. You can also view Grant's Recommended Night Photography Gear.

Update from 2023: These videos were created in 2015, but the aspects of Photoshop and Lightroom that are covered have changed very little. Lightroom has added a number of new features, but the advanced techniques covered extensively in this video still require Photoshop and are done the same way. About 10% of the video discusses the use of 3rd party softwrae which has changed and, in most cases, is now simpler to use. Despite the interface change, the software can still be used to accomplish the same things. Nevertheless, we are providing a 55% discount because the videos are older. You will receive an email after you order with a brief update on any changes that have occurred and how to address these changes.

Purchase all 3 videos below (7 1/2 hours): $119.85 $53.93 - 55% off!
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All 3 videos & eBook: $141.80 $72.88 - 49% off!
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View Some of the Videos for Free!

"I just wanted to thank you, your videos are a great learning tool... I've started recently to use some of the techniques you explain, and with one of the first pictures, I made it into NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day!"
                                                                        - Ignacio Llorens

"I'm writing you today to say thanks so much for the hard work and effort you put into creating your content. I purchased your night guide to photography and the first segment of videos to correspond with the book. They've both really helped me in coming a long way through my night photography and the inspiration you provided to get there."
                                                                        - Ross Thompson

Collier's Guide to Post-Processing Night Photos

Volume I

Processing Single Exposures

Video: $49.95
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Length: 3 1/2 hours, 25 tutorials, 1.2 GB
Publication Date: May, 2015

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Description: In Volume I, Grant teaches his entire workflow for post-processing single exposures taken at night. He goes over all of the adjustments he typically makes in Lightroom and Photoshop and demonstrates many techniques designed specifically for night photos. Some of the topics covered include:

  • Enlarging Star Size
  • Shortening Small Star Trails
  • Brightening the Milky Way
  • Eliminating Light Pollution
  • Eliminating Fringing Around Stars
  • Correcting Distortion
  • Setting the White Balance
  • Improving Contrast & Tonal Range
  • Using Luminosity Masks
  • Minimizing Noise
  • Converting to Black & White
  • Sharpening Images for Web and for Print

Volume I does not discuss combining multiple exposures, so it is suitable for most skill levels, as long as you already have some familiarity with Photoshop and Lightroom.

How to stitch images and blend multiple exposures.

Volume II

Combining Multiple Exposures

Video: $34.95
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Length: 2 hours, 13 tutorials, 1 GB
Publication Date: May, 2015

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Description: In Volume II, Grant teaches advanced techniques that can take your night photos to the next level. He explains how to combine multiple exposures to help minimize noise and maximize detail in your images. You'll be able to capture great images in the most difficult situations, and you'll be able to create huge prints of these images with superior quality. Some of the topics covered include:

  • Stitching Large Images
  • Stacking Multiple Images to Improve Quality
  • Blending Separate Exposures of Sky & Land
  • Focus Stacking

Since this volume involves advanced techniques, it is recommended that you view Volume I first. However, if you're already proficient with Photoshop and just want to learn the above techniques, you can purchase this as a stand-alone item.

Processing images of star trails, meteors, and lunar eclipses.

Volume III

Specialized Techniques

Video: $34.95
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Length: 2 hours, 12 tutorials, 1 GB
Publication Date: May, 2015

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Description: In Volume III, Grant discusses specialized post-processing techniques that apply to specific types of night photos, including images of star trails, meteors, lightning, and lunar eclipses. Grant also shows how to create basic time-lapse videos from your night photos. Some of the topics covered include:

  • Creating Star Trails From Multiple Short Exposures
  • Creating Comet-Like Effect with Star Trails
  • Blending Numerous Meteors into One Shot
  • Aligning Meteors to the Radiant
  • Blending Multiple Lightning Bolts into One Shot
  • Blending Eclipsed Moon into Image
  • Creating a Composite of Stages of Eclipse
  • Creating Time Lapse Videos

Since this volume discusses specialized techniques, it can be used as a stand-alone video or in conjunction with the other videos. Some of the techniques are more advanced, so you should have some familiarity with Photoshop and creating masks and selections.

Here's some videos from this series you can view for free. Click on the far bottom-right of a video to view full size.

i. Contents & Suggested Resources

ii. Introductory Remarks

FROM VOLUME I - 3.5.1. Reducing Dark Noise with Dark Frame

FROM VOLUME II - 6.3. Stacking Light Painted Images

FROM VOLUME III - 9.5. Combining Lightning Into One Shot