No, it’s not magic, but it will make you feel a bit like an omnipotent deity. I’m talking, of course, about the ability to turn day into night in your photos using some nifty Photoshop editing techniques. You don’t need to be the prince of darkness to cast a black shroud over your bright photos. Rather, you need a few tricks and a little Photoshop know-how to turn a vibrant, daytime photo into a stunning, nighttime shot. All it takes is some tinkering with color shifts and exposure to turn that baby blue midday sky into a rich midnight blue. It may hours to go from day to night in real life, but now you can do it in just five steps.
Open the image you wish to edit in Photoshop. Then, add a Curves Adjustment layer to that image. In each Curve channel (Red, Blue and Green), move the top-right points 60% of the way down to create cooler, more nighttime-esque light.
To balance the individual colors of each Curve channel, you’ll want to adjust their mid-tones. Go into each Curves color channel and take the mid-tones down to create a more warmer light to counteract any over blue-ing from Step 1.
Your entire photo is pretty much blanketed in darkness at this point, but you can brighten other aspects besides the sky by adding another Curves layer and a mask to the image. In this layer, you’ll want to bring the mid-tones back up to brighten the photo, while a hide-all mask preserves the darkening of the sky from previous steps. You can use a soft white brush in this mask layer to add moonlight style brightness to the image.
Balance the color of the image in the same Curve layer by moving the Red and Blue Curve channels up to create symmetry with the moonlight and add some additional warmth. Select the mask and click “Gaussian Blur” in the Blur menu and choose a value between 50-100px to create a glow that will soften the color balancing.
Finally, what night sky would be complete without the moon? You can paste in clear shots of the moon and even some wispy clouds that were taken against a clear, black sky background to complete the nighttime transformation. Resize them using the “Free Transform” tool, and then change the blending mode of every layer to “Screen” in order to create a seamless, blended nighttime photo.