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Beginner's Guide to Astro Landscape Photography

Lesson 17 of 20

Post-Processing - Astro Landscape

Peter Baumgarten

Beginner's Guide to Astro Landscape Photography

Peter Baumgarten

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Lesson Info

17. Post-Processing - Astro Landscape

Lesson Info

Post-Processing - Astro Landscape

In almost every style of photography, some post-processing will be involved, and in Astro there's actually a fair degree because we've been dealing in low light conditions while we were shooting. So I wanna delve into my workflow, and I wanna start with kind of a typical night sky shot that you might capture, and so let's get right into it. I'm using Lightroom for the vast majority of my post-processing. And before we actually look at changing this image, I wanna draw your attention to the Lens Correction tab. So I've scrolled down, here's the top, the way you would normally see it, and I've scrolled down to the Lens Correction section because if you're not using an Olympus camera or a lens that was specifically designed for digital, you're gonna wanna enable that. So going down here, click Enable Profile Corrections, and you can see that with this camera lens combination it's already built in, so I don't have to worry about it. But if you are using a different manufacturer's make, you...

could find your camera listed here, choose that, and then choose the model and lens, and then it will adjust the image slightly to correct for any distortion that might have occurred while you were shooting. All right, so I'm gonna uncheck that, and then I'm gonna go right back to the top. And the first thing that I wanna draw your attention to is the Histogram. So this is a pretty standard looking histogram. I was talking earlier about the fact that with most shooting, we wanna try to expose to the right, well this is about as far to the right as you would normally get. The key thing here is that we do have enough space on the left so that hopefully we haven't got too much noise in the shadow area. All right, so that's a pretty typical look histogram for a night shot. All right, I'm gonna bring that histogram up a little bit by first going to the Exposure slider here, and I'm gonna drag it up, let's say, we'll start with maybe .6 of a stop here and I'm beginning to like that. With the latest versions of Lightroom, they've got the dehaze feature, and that's a really nice, simple way of adding contrast. Rather than using the contrast slider, I tend to go to the dehaze slider. You can notice that now space is looking a little darker and the milky way is popping out a bit more, so I'm not gonna go up too much there, about 25% here. And now I want my stars field to really start to pop. So I'm gonna go to the Highlights, begin bringing that up. So I'm at close to 50% here, I'm liking the way that's looking so far. Scroll down to the tone curve, and add a little bit more punch there. Yeah, now the milky way's really starting to rock. You can see that beautiful textured cloud. I might see what happens if I bring up the dark's, but I don't wanna lose any of that contrast, so I think I might leave that the way it is. Let's try the highlights for a second, a little bit more. I'm kind of liking the shape of this curve, that looks pretty good there, all right. In a nutshell, I would be quite content with the way this is looking. The one thing that I notice, I was shooting this in the winter, and because of that reflected snow, I'm finding this slightly blue, so I'm gonna go to my White Balance settings here and I'm gonna play with those, so shooting in camera at a custom white balance of 3300 kelvin. And so let's see if I can warm that up a bit. Now, if I go to the extreme, right, you can see that's becoming far too warm. You know, you might like that kind of warm glow and by all means you can stick with that, but to me that's way too warm. So I'm gonna dial it back. Let's see what that gets, okay there we go. I'm kinda liking that. So if I go back just so that you can see the difference. So there's what I started with, and you can see that really does have a dominant blue cast to it. And now I've warmed it up and I like that far better. I'm gonna play with the tint but I don't think I'm gonna mess with that too much, so let's just drag it over to the magenta area, no that's way too much so I'm gonna reset that to the way it was. All right, and there you have it. If I think that's still a little too dark, I can up my exposure a little bit, but I don't like to overdo it. I want people to understand that we were actually shooting at night here, so I'm gonna go up just a little higher, and you can see the difference in the histogram here. Last thing I'm gonna do is zoom in a bit, let's see in this area, the main core of the milky way. All right, I've got nice clear stars, very little noise. But what I'm really looking for here is do I have a chromatic aberration, do you see any of that purple or green fringing around the stars, and I don't, so I'm quite content with this. If you did, and that can occur, you can correct that right down here, it's back in the lens corrections again, and you could click on Remove Chromatic Aberration, go to Manual, and you can de-fringe it by adjusting the purple slider here. And you wouldn't have to adjust it too much, all right? I don't need to do that, so we'll check that off. As far as noise goes, I'm content with that. I might play with some of the noise reduction. Colors already defaulting at 25%, but I'm actually quite pleased with these results so I'm not gonna play with the noise reduction here. But if you wanted to or you felt that your image was too noisy, this is where you would do it, all right? So, in a few minutes we've accomplished a pretty nice looking milky way image, pretty standard kind of shot, very simple composition.

Class Description


  • Scout for the best location to capture the night sky
  • Understand how to research the moon and what makes for the best opportunities
  • Camera setting and techniques
  • Gear guides for your night adventure
  • How to shoot meteor showers, star trails, the moon and other cosmic events


Night owl by nature? Get the skills and techniques to capture the night sky and the activity it presents. Peter Baumgarten, an Olympus Visionary, takes you in the field to discuss gear requirements, safety and camera set up so you can confidently go into any landscape and capture the milky way and beyond. With in-the-field examples, Peter will show you how to best prep and research your way to success as well as how to trouble shoot when the lights go out.


  • Night photographers
  • Beginners
  • Landscape and Outdoor enthusiasts


Peter is a professional photographer and educator living on Manitoulin Island in Northern Ontario. He regularly leads photography courses and workshops for novice and enthusiast photographers and travels across North America as an Olympus Visionary providing lectures and seminars on landscape, wildlife, and astrophotography. His work has been published in a number of magazines in both Canada and the U.S. and has been recognized for excellence on a number of photography websites. Peter is an avid outdoor enthusiast with a passion for wilderness camping, canoeing and kayaking.

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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Lana Froemming

I purchased the Creative Live + Olympus Step Outside Conference Bundle some time ago, and it has taken me this long (too long) to view the astrophotography class. Although not a beginner, I have been using Olympus gear (EPL5 & EM1) for about 7 years now, I have only dabbled in astrophotography – and as a result, blown my fair share of what should have been killer shots. When I did give it a go, I obtained most of my settings’ tips by combing through Peter’s blog posts and then racing out the door. Although I feel that I know my camera pretty well I still learned so much from this course. I appreciate that he walked the viewer through multiple night time photography events including shooting the milky way, the moon, aurora, meteor showers & star trails as well as talked about the different camera features including night sky panoramas, in-camera multiple exposures, live comp & time lapse and presented a variety of lens choices and why (plus so much more). What I love about Creative Live is that once you purchase a “class” you own it and can return to your classroom over, and over again. I also appreciate that they work with experts who are also amazing teachers. Peter is one of those.

Doug Marshall

Some classes are just fantastic and this is one of them! Peter Baumgarten is a wonderful presenter of his extensive knowledge, experience and passion for the subject. This is a course I will return to watch again and again. Highly recommended if you are like me and are interested in getting into astrophotography and landscape.

elizabeth chambers

To my way of thinking this was the best photographic genre instructor featured during the Olympus Step Outside series. He may be a more seasoned instructor than the photographers demonstrating landscape and bird photography. Whatever the reason, I thought he seemed to understand his audience particularly well. Great advice and the post processing was interesting. Likely because of my familiarity with Lightroom, I found the post production done by the bird and landscape photographers rather mundane whereas the astro photography post production was new and interesting to me.