Star Photography Post Processing Video Tutorial

Update: January 6th, 2014

Michael Shainblum and I just launched our new Star Photography Post Processing Master Class which is a video tutorial experience that teaches you our full star photography post processing workflows from start to finish. You even get our RAW picture files to work along with us at home!

You can pick up these tutorials on this page or at which is our new website dedicated solely to night sky & star photography education, tutorials, mentoring and workshops. If you like star photography then is the website for you:)


Star photography seems like a daunting task, but trust us it’s much easier than you think. With our step by step digital workflow tutorial you will master night sky photography post processing in no time. In our tutorials you will learn all of the steps necessary to create some beautiful looking pictures, some of the skill sets include RAW file conversion and digital blending; then, on to luminosity masks, and, finally, color correction as well as final edits in Photoshop. ( All the skill sets provided in the videos are listed below )

Anyone can take a picture of the night sky using my Free Star Photography Tutorial, but wouldn’t you like to take a picture and turn it into something like this? Follow along with Michael and I in our video tutorials as we show you our full post processing work flow from start to finish! We even include the RAW files for you to work along with us at home:)

Ready to Buy? 

Select the button below for secure checkout using PayPal or major credit card, or scroll down for more information about the tutorials.
To pay using credit card select the “Don’t Have a PayPal Account” option after clicking Submit Order.

Add to Cart

What did this picture look like before I edited it? Keep reading….full details below the first picture.

Nothing's Shocking

Even the best digital cameras on the market such as the Nikon D800 can only pick up a fraction of what the human eye can really see. I start each shot with a RAW picture file, as seen below, and turn it into the work of art displayed above. Using the tools provided in programs such as Adobe Lightroom, Camera RAW and Photoshop we can take the image our camera gives us, add some imagination, and and produce something beautiful.
Follow me on a journey of post processing that will allow you to see and capture the night sky like never before. A quick rundown of everything you need to know is included below…



What You Need to Take the Tutorials

  • Adobe Lightroom 3 or above ( running currently updated software versions )
  • Adobe Photoshop CS4 or above ( running currently updated software versions )

What You Receive with Your Master Class Download

100% Satisfaction Guarantee – If you’re not satisfied with the videos you can return them at any time for a full refund. 

Since Michael & Dave both process pictures in an entirely different manner you won’t be learning the same thing from one instructors as you do from the other.  Each of the (2) video tutorials will provide entirely new content for you to add to your star photography post processing arsenal.

More details including the actual picture files you will be provided and working on over at

  • (2) Star Photography Post Processing Video Tutorials. ( 1280 × 720 Video Quality in MP4 Format )
  • Michael’s Tutorial is 38 minutes in length.
  • Dave’s tutorial is 64 minutes in length.
  • Dave’s Under the Stars Lightroom 4 & 5 Presets
  • (2) RAW picture files ( the same as the ones we work on in the tutorials ) that you will work on while following along with the video tutorials provided. You can view each of these RAW files above. ( Dave’s RAW file is from a Nikon D800 and Michael’s is from a Canon 6D )
  • All of the skills you need to take full control of your night sky / star / Milky Way photography post processing.
  • Complete explanation / theory behind each step and skill set provided in the tutorials.
  • Full understanding of luminosity masking & digital blending techniques.
  • Creating luminosity masks and applying them to your night sky shots. You can use these techniques for landscape photography as well.
  • Night Sky Color Correction Techniques.
  • Advanced noise reduction techniques.
  • Using luminosity masks to apply selective noise reduction in Photoshop.
  • Lightroom & Photoshop post processing expertise.
  • Detailed explanation of Photoshop adjustment layers.
  • Layer masking & how to apply it to your night sky workflow.
  • Sharpening / Web Sharpening skill sets.
  • Artistic cropping.
  • Random tips & tricks to increase Lightroom and Photoshop efficiency.
  • Using “groups” in Photoshop for even greater detail and control.
  • Making detailed selections in Photoshop.
  • Explanation of Photoshop Blend Modes.
  • Using the Channels Module in Photoshop.
  • Using the Layers Module in Photoshop.
  • Applying vignettes in Photoshop.
  • Applying selective adjustments using layer masks.
  • Contrasting the Milky Way ( Making it POP! )
  • Final photo presentation and display.
  • In depth commentary from both Michael & Dave.
  • The ability to Share your pictures with everyone else that has taken the tutorials!
  • Much Much More!!!

Ready to Buy? 

Click the button below for full purchase details and secure checkout options. Not sold yet? Check out some more Before and After results from both photographers below.

Star Photography Post Processing Master Class ( 75$ )

To pay using credit card select the “Don’t Have a PayPal Account” option after clicking Submit Order.

Add to Cart

Just Interested in One of the Photographers’ Tutorials? 

You also have the option to buy just Michael’s or just Dave’s tutorials. They include one out of the two video tutorials included in the bundle package for the photographer of your choice. They do not include the presets or any videos from the other photographer. Select either button below to purchase.
To pay using credit card select the “Don’t Have a PayPal Account” option after clicking Submit Order.

Buy Dave’s Tutorial ( 65$ )

Add to Cart

Buy Michael’s Tutorial ( 65$ )

Add to Cart


A few pointers for learning the techniques contained in these tutorials..
In order to fully understand and master each tutorial you must move in order. It will be very hard to learn the material contained in Part II without fully understanding everything in Part I.
The pause button is your friend. When I am learning from tutorials, I constantly pause the video, learn the new method, then continue with the tutorial.
If possible, use two computers. One of the best learning tools is having an extra screen to watch the tutorial on, this will cut down on the confusion from learning a new subject and switching back and forth between windows.

Last Words of Advice: (See the bottom of the Luminosity Masking Tutorial Page for more tips)
The content contained in these tutorials is by no means easy to learn, it took me hours to put these techniques together, let alone learn them for the first time. Do not get discouraged, instead learn as much as you can and continue to learn until you are happy with the results. Over time these techniques will become second nature and you can start to tweak the different methods and allow them to easily integrate into your own workflow:) Keep in mind there is no right or wrong way to process a picture!  Along with my tutorial, I highly recommend the content I have provided in the links below.

As always if you have any questions email me, or better yet leave them below so everyone can learn!

Here are some other useful star photography links that I provide on my website.
Online Post Processing Star Photography Workshops
Under the Stars Lightroom Presets
My Free Star Photography Tutorial

Want to learn more about luminosity masks? These tutorials are great!
Tony Kuyper’s Luminosity Mask Tutorial

Want to learn more about digital blending and HDR Photography? Check out the link below. 
Awesome Tutorials & Useful Links

You can find all of my star photography by following the link below.
My Star Photography Portfolio

To process the following pictures I used the exact same skill sets that I cover in my tutorials above…

Shoot Me to the StarsCheck out my FREE Star Photography Tutorial  and  Star Photography Post Processing Video Tutorial  Ready to learn star photography? Trust me it's easier than you think. Check out the link below for my summer star photography workshops, where I will teach you everything you need to know. | Under the Stars Night Photography Workshops |
When We Were Stars - Palouse, WAfrom
Lost: In the Valley of Dreams - Washington Stateread more at www.DaveMorrowPhotography.comCheck out my FREE Star Photography Tutorial  and  Star Photography Post Processing Video Tutorial  Ready to learn star photography? Trust me it's easier than you think. Check out the link below for my summer star photography workshops, where I will teach you everything you need to know.  Under the Stars Night Photography Workshops
Galaxy Number 9 - Lake Tahoe, NVread more about my trip to Lake Tahoe at www.DaveMorrowPhotography.comCheck out my FREE Star Photography Tutorial  and  Star Photography Post Processing Video Tutorial  Ready to learn star photography? Trust me it's easier than you think. Check out the link below for my summer star photography workshops, where I will teach you everything you need to know.  Under the Stars Night Photography Workshops
Dare to Dream
Night Tremors
When Worlds Collide

  • Dennis

    Hi, is this a video tutorial and in which format does it come (PDF, etc)?
    Thanks, Dennis

  • David Morrow

    Hi Dennis, I guess I didn’t clarify:) It is all video

  • David Morrow

    Yes it does @facebook-1292468129:disqus I explain everything verbally throughout the entire tutorial.

  • Michael Lauffenburger

    Hi Dave- I know you say your techniques can applied with any RAW processor, however Part I seems to be specific to Lightroom. How useful is the step-by-step video for an Adobe Camera RAW user like me? I have no experience with Lightroom at all. Also, can your Lightroom presets be used in ACR?

  • David Morrow

    @facebook-1253722648:disqus I learned how to process star pictures in Lightroom 4, then one day I decided to open up ACR and see if I could pull it off in there, within 10 minutes I had learned how to process my star shots with almost the same quality. After using both I have to say that ACR does not touch the power that LR4 has for bringing out the stars. This is why I teach the class in Lightroom. You may have some trouble using ACR and following along, but if you really put your mind to it I am sure you could handle the difference. I highly recommend LR4 as the most powerful RAW converter for star photography. As far as the presets, no I don’t plan on ever providing them for ACR, I was thinking about making some for OnOne Perfect Photo Suite tho:)

  • Michael Lauffenburger

    Thanks for the response @DaveMorrowPhoto:disqus. I have done some more research, which concurs with your assessment that LR4 is much better for star photography than ACR. I will be buying it and then will buy your tutorial. On a tangential subject, I was in the Anza Borrego desert this weekend and was trying to get some shots of the Milky Way (was targeting just to the left of Orion’s belt), however upon initial review they seem less than impressive. Even though there was no moon out and the surrounding area is considered a “dark sky” zone excellent for star photography and astronomy, I don’t think I got far enough from our hotel, which appeared to cause light pollution. Since I don’t have experience in star photography post processing nor whether what an unedited “good” star picture should look like, I was wondering if you might have a look at the attached raw file and let me know if there is any hope. Much appreciated. Mike

  • Michael Lauffenburger

    Ooops, it appears I can’t upload .cr2 files.

  • David Morrow

    @facebook-1253722648:disqus send it to me via my email is

  • Michael Lauffenburger

    @DaveMorrowPhoto:disqus , I sent you a couple of examples, however after buying your tutorials, it appears mine photos are junk as one can clearly see the Milky Way in your pictures before any post processing. It appears there can be NO ambient light nearby when trying to capture the MW. Any tips? Thanks, Mike

  • David Morrow

    @facebook-1253722648:disqus if you can not see the Milky Way with your naked eye, there is not a chance of getting a quality shot there will be to much light pollution. My advice is explore your ass off until you find somewhere pitch black, that’s my one and only plan of attack that works every single time.

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  • Matt Pollock

    To Michael Lauffenburger,
    Michael, I think you have missed a vital point in your attempt to shoot the Milky Way. You made a comment that you shot just to the left of Orions belt. This is no where near the Milky Way bands which run as a straight line from Cassiopeia in the north to Galactic Center (brightest area and highest concentration of stars) which is located in Sagittarius and the tail of Scorpio. Not only that, but your attempts to take the shot while Orion was in the sky means the Milky Way was not. Orion sets hours before the Milky Way begins to rise. Presently, Sagittarius is rising after midnight.

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  • Brian Henry

    When you talk about the facilities in Photoshop are you referring to Creative Suite or Elements. Or can the Luminosity Masks be used in both

  • David Morrow

    Hello, only CS ( Creative Suite ) will work for luminosity masking. I think Elements has a wok around, but I don’t teach it in the tutorial.

  • Russell

    Is the only editing software I need, your “under the stars lightrom 4 presets” or do I need photoshop and all that other stuff?
    Thanks, Russell

  • David Morrow


    Please Reference the “What You Need to Take this Tutorial” part of this page above. You do not need the presets at all. They are just an added extra:)

    Let me know if you have any questions, thanks!

  • Russell

    Okay thanks. Also another question, in your free star photography tutorial you talk about a camera timer. What is that?
    Thanks, Russell

  • David Morrow

    It’s a piece of hardware you hook to your camera so you can take longer than 30 second exposures. Most cameras will only take 30 seconds. Typing “DSLR camera timer” in Google Search, will show you some examples.

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