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Turn your Day Photo into a Night Photo – Part 1

Monday, August 5th, 2013 by | Filed Under: Digital Photography, Photo Editing

Ever wanted to turn a day into night? It’s a technique you’ll see sometimes in film and television, but you can do it to with the help of Photoshop. We can even put stars in the sky. It’s a pretty long process, so it’ll take 2 parts. Let’s get started.


In this tutorial we will be turning a normal day photo into a night photo and filling the sky with stars. You can be as creative as you want in this tutorial by adding more/less shades of color and stars to suit your taste.

What You Need: Use the image provided here or find your own image with a visible skyline and street lamps (for lighting effect).


The main tools we will be using in this tutorial are:

  • Adjustment Layers
  • Adjustment Layer Masks
  • Solid Color
  • Hue and Saturation
  • Gradient Tool

The tutorial will be broken down into the following steps:

  1. Removing the color from the image
  2. Setting the night scene
  3. Creating the stars in the sky
  4. Adding lighting effect (such as street lights)

Lets have a look at the before and after photos of this tutorial.




Removing the color from the image

Well, as most of us might know, color is just the reflection of light on an object; this basically means that without light, we don’t see any color. With this in mind, when creating a night scene, we obviously have less light and consequently less color, so let’s start by taking some of the color out of the photo.


Firstly, click on “New Adjustment Layer”: 

Now click on “Hue and Saturation”:

We want to bring the Saturation down to about -50, as shown below.

Your image should now look something this:

Setting the Night Scene

Often we think of a night scene as just a dark scene. That means that to create a night scene all we need to do is darken the image or add a bit of black, right? Not really. Almost all night scenes have a little blue in them somewhere even if we don’t notice it, so first of all we’re going to have to add a blue tinge to the photo whilst we darken it.


Click on “New Adjustment Layer”: 

Now click on “Solid Color”:

Now select a dark blue color as shown below.

You will notice you image has just gone to a complete dark blue, so we now need to change the way in which the solid color is applied to the image. To do this, we need to change the Blending Mode which is located just above the Layers in your Layer Pallet (as shown below).

Change the Blending Mode to Multiply.

Now change the Opacity of the Blending Mode to about 80 to make the effect a little less strong.

Now we have the blue we want to create our night scene and your image should look similar to the one below.

The next step is adding the dark sky to the image. To do this, click on “New Adjustment Layer”:

Now click on “Gradient Map”:

To set the Gradient Map settings, we need to edit the properties by double clicking on the Gradient Bar, which looks like this:

After that, we need to set the color of the left gradient to black and the right color to white, as shown below.

Your image should now like something like the one seen below.

In the next step we’re going to blend our blue night setting in with our black/dark night setting above. To do this, we need to use the Gradient Tool on the Layer Mask to remove the black/dark effect from the bottom of the image (making it blue) whilst blending it into a black/dark effect to the top of the image (for the night sky). First, let’s check that your Gradient Tool is set up correctly before moving ahead.


Basically, we want to set the Gradient Tool so that it goes from a solid black color (Opacity of 100%) to a fully transparent color (Opacity of 0%).

Select your Gradient Tool, located among the tools to the left of the screen.

Toward the top left of the screen you will see the following gradient configuration button:

Double-click it on it and configure it as follows:

The two squares highlighted in yellow define your Color (which should both be black).

The two squares highlighted in purple define the Opacity (the left value should be 100% and the right value should be 0%)

OK, we’re ready to go!

Select the Layer Mask of the Gradient Map which we applied previously (as shown below).

Now select your Gradient Tool:

Now draw a line beginning from around the bottom of the image to the top of the image (as shown below).

Your image should now look like this:

Now we have our night scene! 

Next tutorial we will add the stars and play with a few lighting effects.

Thanks for following.



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5 Responses to “Turn your Day Photo into a Night Photo – Part 1”

  1. Gloria says:

    I do not have Photshop, too expensive. Most of my friends use Paint Shop Pro. How about some tips on that program? Would be much appreciated.

  2. Donna Thompson says:

    Does this work in Photo Shop Elements, also? I like the tip…just need to have your tips work in a less expensive program such as Elements.

  3. Russ says:

    Yes, it works well (at least in PSE 9).

    When will Part 2 appear?

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