Creating a Fake Night Star Trail in Photoshop

Creating a Fake Night Star Trail in Photoshop

One thing I have always loved about long exposure night photography is the trail of the stars. It always amazes me to see the movement of the stars over time and adds such a different dimension to a still photograph. We covered some tips for long exposure photography awhile back and today want to share a tip I ran across from Russell Brown at Adobe on how you can quickly add a star trail look to your photos from within an action in Photoshop (CS5 and above). There are some great tips in here that don’t just cover using this action to add a star trail but a few really quick and easy masking techniques that we can use for many other types of photography.

St. Huberts Star Trails 2.0

What do you think about this quick little trick? Is “Photoshopping” something like this cheating vs. taking a long exposure and capturing it live? Leave a comment below, would love to know everyone’s thoughts.

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Author: Mark

Mark is a fine art wedding and portrait photographer from Northern California. He has been passionate about photography since childhood and started his studio 12 years ago to bring a fresh style of photography to the wedding and portrait world.

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  1. I agree with Justin. Photoshop is killing the art of photography.
    There is no substitute for actually planning and shooting a star trail.
    So sad that people can create an amazing image and they don’t even know what an aperture is!!

  2. And your point is that you are up set because people are creating visual pleasing images with out working for them? The only people who have a right to gripe are those firet few individuals who pionerd photography. We all have been “cheating” since then. Auto focus cameras, auto winders, print shops, digital cameras, digital workflow. Unless you have one of the first original cameras ever invented, you are also “killing the art of photography”

  3. I think that it’s more about photography evolving to a new phase of creativity. Photographers have always used to different techniques in the darkroom to enhance their photos. We are just using new methods and techniques now. Bottom line… If you don’t know how to use camera settings or how to effectively use PS, these techniques won’t help create better images.


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