Making Day Photos look like Night Photos using Photoshop

Difficulty: Easy

I’ve been taking a ton of photographs lately, but I’ve had some trouble capturing my subjects at night. Something I’ve wanted to look into is day for night photography. There is an easy way to do this on-site with different aperture settings and screens, but maybe you forgot your equipment that day, or maybe you can’t do that with your camera, or maybe you just think your subject is more interesting at night, and all you have is daytime pictures.

Here is a photo I took in the middle of the day. For your image, there will be a few things you will need to be wary of right off the bat. Try to avoid highlights, as this is very difficult to mask over. The sky is difficult to mask, but not impossible, though the original photo should be white balanced and exposed correctly. Overexposure is especially hard to make into a night picture.

Open up your image in photoshop, and start by creating a new Solid Color fill layer by clicking the black and white circle in the layer panel.

This will open a new window to select a color for the fill. Select the blue as close to black as possible.

Your image should be completely covered by the fill layer now. (It’ll just be a blue rectangle) To create the night effect and let us see our original image, you have to change the opacity of the fill. Change the top menu selection to “Multiply” and slide down the opacity to around 80%.(Make sure the Color Fill Layer is selected)

At this point, we have this image:

We have the darkened image, but the graffiti almost is too dark to read. To fix this, (and anything that is too dark in your image) select the brush tool and make sure white is selected as the foreground color. From here, with the color fill layer selected, you can highlight sections of your image and restore them to their original lighting. I don’t want it to look like blotches of daytime, so lower the opacity of your brush and the hardness of your brush to make the highlights look more natural.

Take the brush and stroke along areas that need to be lightened, but be careful, if you go over the same spot twice after releasing the mouse button, you will be lighting those highlights twice. For your image, you’ll have to change hardness and opacity to levels that work for you. The same goes for the initial color fill opacity mentioned in this tutorial – there will be variance here and the same values won’t always work.

Here’s my final night image.

Hope this helps!






~ by fingoscrip on November 7, 2011.

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