I love twilight photos with the milky way rising over the sunset. I always wondered how you would create such an image. So here I am with some tips on how to create twilight and a little magic!
Tips to add stars to create twilight
- I suggest starting with an image thats taken around sunset when you have the pastel skies.
- Don’t get the sun in the shot.
- If possible, photograph a sky with the blue sky at the top of the image. You may have to wait until the sun is below the horizon.
- You need a photograph of the Milky Way/ Stars. <— Don’t have a milky way shot? Join my mailing list – I will send you a high res file of the milky way to practice with.
My workflow to create twilight in Photoshop.
Open your image in Photoshop.
If you process your photo in Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw – make all adjustments before taking in to Photoshop like usual.
As you can see my sky wasn’t blue up the top. So I made it blue.
I added a blank layer. Chose the brush tool – A soft brush. Opacity + Flow 30-50%. Picked a medium depth blue. Added blue to the sky where I needed it, on my blank layer.
You need a shot of the Milky Way. <— If you don’t have one don’t leave yet… Join my mailing list and I will send you a high res file to practice with!
You need to bring your Milky Way shot into the workspace where your subject image is.
To do this:
1. Make sure you are clicked on the Milky Way Layer.
2. Right click the layer and choose Rasterize Layer.
Note: If you are unable to select rasterize layer – your layer is already rasterized.
Once layer is Rasterized – COMMAND or CTRL A – To select the image. COMMAND or CTRL C – To Copy the Image. Then go back to the image you want to paste the Stars into and COMMAND or CTRL + V to paste the image.
You will now have the star layer in your workspace.
Move the star layer to the horizon – or where ever you wanted it to sit in the image. Select the layer. Choose move tool – top left or keyboard shortcut ‘V’.
Tip: Adjust the opacity of the layer to see placement of the star layer. Make sure you take the opacity back to 100% once its in the correct position.
Duplicate your star layer by clicking on the layer and COMMAND or CTRL J.
For the magic to happen with the stars you need to change the blending mode.
Set the first star layer blending mode to “Screen” and the second star layer to “soft light”
Group the two star layers together.
Select both star layers by clicking one layer, holding shift and selecting the other layer. Once they are both selected do the following steps.
- Click ‘Group’ icon to group layers together.
- Add a ‘layer mask’ to the group layer.
- Select the layer mask
Select Gradient Tool.
Click to enter the Gradient Editor and choose the White to Black Preset.
You want to add the gradient to the group with the star layers. By using a gradient on the layer mask you will be able to get a beautiful blend between the pastel sky and the stars.
To use the gradient tool, you click somewhere in the sky and drag down to just above the horizon. Each image will be different depending where you want the stars to end. You can click and drag as many times as you like and it will continually change where the gradient is applied.
Hold the SHIFT key down while you drag the gradient down if you want to add the gradient perfectly horizontal to the horizon.
As with all photography and editing – its all so subjective. Feel free to play around with different coloured skies. I personally prefer the blue/purple look behind the stars but that doesn’t mean you do.
You can continue to edit the rest of your image to your style.