How to Edit the Milky Way

Article By: Tiffen Flight Team Member, Kawika Lopez
Shared from: 9th Ave Studios Blog

When I first got into photography, one of the most exciting moments I can remember was being at the top of Haleakala on Maui. It was just around freezing temperatures when we arrived at about 3am. After setting up my camera on a tripod and waiting for a 30 second exposure, the image review popped up. I saw my first shot of the Milky Way on the rear display of my 5D mark III and I was hooked.


Since then I have been in love with astrophotography. So much so that I have a couple of lenses that I really only use to shoot the stars. If I’m home on Oahu and it’s a clear night between March and October, theres a big chance I’m out shooting.

Over the years, I’ve gotten a lot of question about how I edit my Milky Way photos. In this video, I’ll show you step by step how I approach editing these types of shots.

For raw processing, I use either Adobe Camera Raw or Lightroom to make the major adjustments. Then I use Adobe Photoshop to add a “look” or “Color Grade” to the shot. My workflow is constantly changing as I learn and pick up different tricks from other photographers, but hopefully you guys can find some value in seeing how I currently do things.

If you want to follow along, you can download the example image HERE.

Here are the plug-ins I use in Photoshop.

– Nik Collection – Free

– Lumenzia – $40

Tiffen Tip! You can use a Tiffen Fog or Double Fog Filter to glow the milky way even more!


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Michael Cassara
Michael Cassara
When he isn't clicking away on his camera, Michael can be found quoting every Will Ferrell movie, cruising up and down the beach in his Jeep, or just spending some quality with his family and dog, Daisy. As the Marketing Communications Manager at Tiffen, Michael oversees our social media, our ambassador team as well as this very blog! Michael is also an accomplished and Award Winning Wedding Photographer from Long Island.
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