How To Edit Northern Lights Photos | Step-By-Step Process

Northern Lights are an Astronomical phenomenon. Their also called polar lights or Aurora. They shimmer in the night’s sky, emitting majestic lights that complement the stars and the nature it surrounds. Because Northern Lights look their best during dark nights, it’s not always so simple to capture their beauty in a photo.

That does not mean it’s impossible. With a little vision and editing, you can bring out the best in them. With our help, you will be able to bring out the magical colors of the aurora borelius in your next mesmerizing capture in 9 simple steps.

Let’s keep scrolling to learn more.

How To Edit Northern Lights Photos

What You Should Look For In The End Product

The beauty of how the colors gleam across the night sky and the land are the main features of northern lights. When you capture a photo of this phenomenon, you want the picture to reflect the magic that you saw with your own eyes. The picture should show the beauty of the lights. 

The Approach You Should Take While Editing

Technology has come very far. Still, you won’t always get the perfect/clearest shot because nighttime photography perfection is still in the distant future. To make up for this, editing is necessary. While editing, we must flush out the features of the night sky and hide its flaws. We want the darkest parts to remain dark while the stars and lights shine clearly and brightly. The surrounding nature should be visible but not intrusive. Achieving a good balance between clarity and brightness is essential. Today we will be using Adobe Lightroom as the editing software as it is very user-friendly and perfect for northern lights editing.

Automated/Preset Editing

This way of editing is the easiest but do keep in mind that you might not get the best results (yet surprisingly good ones). After importing your photo in ‘lightroom’ you will see many preset profiles. You can scroll through them and apply any one of them. The software has an automated image detection process to then apply many small touches. This whole process takes less than 10 clicks and is available for both phones and PCs. But to get the best result, nothing beats manually adjusting the parameters.

How to Edit Northern Lights Photos Manually

Aside from getting a good camera for aurora borelius, you need to learn about the editing process as well. Let’s learn how to edit photos of aurora Polaris.

Tweaking the White Balance

Sadly there is no one setting for all pictures. So tweak the sliders as you see fit. Some indicators should be if the moon is bright if it’s a snowing area, or bright white lights.

Exposure Control

Since the northern lights tend to be almost always nighttime shots, the visibility is quite often an issue. So turning up the exposure is a must but be careful not to go overboard.

Contrast Adjustment

Turn up the contrast. We want the dark part to look ever darker without introducing noise. This also compliments the brighter parts of the image.

Shadows and Highlights

Bring your shadows and highlight up. This gives your surroundings more depth. 

Vibrance rebalancing

Bring your Vibrance up but don’t go overboard. Vibrance makes the colors pop.

Applying an Appropriate Tint

Give the image an appropriate tint. Like blue for a cooler look or green to make the greener light pop.

Dehazing

Turn it up. This removes fog and gives the sky a clear view. 

Modifying Clarity and Texture

Turn them up. They give the stars a much-needed clarity and the clouds some texture.

Applying Lens Correction

Applying this removes jitter/lens flares while the shot was taken.

Tips

  • Always shoot your photos raw (with post-processing).
  • While editing, keep a folder that has details of time and iteration.
  • Editing is always about trial and error, so always keep multiple styles of the same photo.

Let Your Edits Show The True Magic of The Aurora Borealis!

Northern lights are a sight to behold. But not everyone has had the pleasure of seeing them. With our article on how to edit northern lights photos, you can now show off the closest thing.

Go on and hurry, show others this magical sight and boast about how you captured its beauty.

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