After following some tutorials and some posts here, I ended up finding a camera setting where I could indeed capture the milky way. The setting I used is:

  • ISO 6400
  • 18 mm
  • f/3.5
  • 30.0 sec

And this is what I got (RAW file):

enter image description here

After following some online tips on how to edit this photo in Lightroom, I ended it with the following picture:

enter image description here

First of all, I would like to know your comments on how well I did it? What could make it better? How would you do it differently?

P.S. I know that the horizon line would have made it better, but it was not easy to have both in one frame given that my lens is 18mm.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Paging @jrista ... \$\endgroup\$
    – OnBreak.
    Commented Nov 9, 2018 at 23:05
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ it looks decidedly green to me \$\endgroup\$
    – osullic
    Commented Nov 9, 2018 at 23:14
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ ♫♪ It's not that easy bein' green ♪♫ \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Commented Nov 10, 2018 at 16:09

2 Answers 2


Your image has a severe case of light pollution, there isn't much contrast and the horizon is drowned. The bottom of the picture is much lighter than the top and this seriously reduces your editing possibilities.

IMHO the "band" of stars isn't very visible in your shot. Using Gimp, I:

  • made a more even exposure vertically across the image(*)
  • used the "Curves" tool to set back/white points

enter image description here

You can even enhance/cheat (depending if it is art or science) with a layer mask to progressively dim stars outside the diagonal:

enter image description here

(*) In Gimp:

  • duplicate the layer
  • blur it so that the stars disappear (in practice I used a large blur value horizontally (200px) and a small one vertically (20px).
  • set the top layer to Grain Extract mode
  • create a new layer from the visible result
  • set WP/BP and contrast with Curves (the process above compresses the result values around gray-50%)
  • \$\begingroup\$ This looks amazing. Would doing such edits on the RAW file make it even better? I’m not good with GIMP. Any ideas how I can do these in LR? \$\endgroup\$
    – Moh
    Commented Nov 10, 2018 at 14:21
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I started with the scaled down image, reduced to 8-bit/channel by the encoding format. So working from raw or a 16-bit extracted from it will likely give better results. But I'm not sure LR can do that (more in PS territory...). But you can learn to use Gimp, it won't cost you a penny and you can also replace LR by pretty good free software.... \$\endgroup\$
    – xenoid
    Commented Nov 10, 2018 at 21:09

I usually edit (to avoid improve) my sky shoots in darktable with

  • haze removal (dehaze in LR) enter image description here

  • increase local contrast enter image description here

  • increase sharpness enter image description here

  • If the image is greenish as your 2nd one you could change the whitebalance.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.