How to Edit Solar Eclipse Photos in Photoshop and Lightroom

In Lightroom, ON1, Photography, Photoshop by Matt K60 Comments

First… here are some quick links so you don’t have to read everything…

    1. The Live webinar is up on my Facebook page. Or you can watch it below.


  1. Download the follow along images for the tutorials I did below (Click Here)
  2. Besides the live webcast, there’s a few more videos below:
    1. Creating Eclipse Composites in Lightroom/Photsohop
    2. Creating Eclipse Composites in ON1
    3. Creating Eclipse Composites in Affinity Photo
    4. Making a composite using Lightroom only.

Live Webcast Replay

Editing Solar Eclipse Photos

I’ve been asked at least a hundred times about info on viewing, setting up, shooting, camera settings and everything around the Solar Eclipse next week. While it’s all very important information to know, I’ve actually never photographed an eclipse before. So I figured I’m probably not the right person to write about or tell you how to do it. A quick Google search will find you thousands of articles about it. But last week I got a question about editing the photos, and I realized nobody is talking about that part – especially those cool photo composites you see where multiple phases of the eclipse all appear in one photo.

So I realized I can definitely help with what comes after. And if you’re reading this ahead of time, you still have time to make sure you get the photos you need to create some of the cool images you may have in mind. So I decided to release this video early, in hopes to inspire some of you to get really creative out there and show you some possibilities. Plus, you’ll have it ready to go on Monday when you return, and you’ll know right where to go for some editing techniques.

The Video & Download Images

The video below walks you through a couple of popular eclipse composites I’ve seen and how they’re done. And you can download the files I used and try them out if you’d like. I hope the video does two things. First, as you watch it I hope that you’ll get a couple of ideas on how to creatively set up your eclipse shots. What do you plan to do with this photo? What’s your final vision? Do you need to set up and shoot in a certain way to get the photo you want?

Then, I hope it serves as a tutorial to hold you over until next Thursday. If you get back on Monday after shooting and want to start putting together some photo composites, now you’ll have a place to go to learn how.

And here’s the link to download the images. (Click Here)

Using Lightroom Only

ON1 and Affinity Versions

I also did 2 other versions of the video for editing in ON1 and one for Affinity. The links are right below.

ON1 Version: (Click Here)

Affinity (Click Here)


  1. Pingback: How to Edit Solar Eclipse Photos in Photoshop and Lightroom - Tutorials 411 : Tutorials 411

  2. Patricia Graefe

    I will not have any photos but want to see what others have shot.

  3. Kyle

    Hey Matt, I submitted 3 photos to you that I just took over Saint Louis. I’ve never tried astrophotography before so was quite afraid I wouldn’t capture anything at all. However, I was pleased to see that I took a few photos that surprised me. I have limited knowledge on how to properly edit them nor the tools to do it justice since I forgot all that way back when in my photo class in college. If you have the time and are able to spruce them up that would be awesome!! Any help and or criticism is greatly appreciated.



    1. Author
      Matt K

      Hi Kyle – thanks for uploading. I’ll do my best, but they’re pretty over-exposed which means I’m not going to be able to pull detail from them. There is one that has a bit of the moon in it, but unfortunately everything around it is white. But I’ll see what I can do. Thx.

  4. Melissa Williams

    Hi there, I stumbled across your post and submitted a photo. I am a yearbook sponsor and looking to get any hints on what to do with that image I uploaded for our cover. There are so many other photos I am seeing I am almost afraid to use that one as the center piece of an eclipse series…

  5. Shelley

    Hi Matt, thanks for the tips on post processing our eclipse photos. I didn’t have a tracker, so I had to manually find the sun for each shot I took. It would be great if on Thursday you would address how to line them up if they aren’t in the same location in the frame. Thanks!

  6. Shelley

    Never Mind! I figured how to line up my images by myself, yay! Thanks for the tutorial.

  7. Michael Lewis

    I uploaded some pics taken in Wyoming using my Sony a6000, unfortunately mostly JPGs. It’s my first anything more than a point and shoot, owned just over a month – did not realize that using my phone as a remote it did not take RAW pics. Hopefully you can use some of these.

  8. Sue Johnson

    Just submitted 3 bracketed photos of the eclipse. Looking forward to seeing how you will edit them or others like them. It was a very fun experience capturing the moment.

  9. Steve

    Hey Matt. Huge fan for years. Appreciate the opportunity to see how the pros will edit these once in a lifetime photos. I submitted 4 RAW unedited shots from NE Georgia (in path of totality). Was pleased with my results after months of research, preparation and practice. Have 29 gigs of shots over 3 hours yesterday afternoon. Looking forward to your handling of these types of images. Thanks for all of your informative tutorials. SW

  10. Kyle

    I really appreciate what you’re doing. I’ll be at work during your webinar; will you please post it for later viewing? I also have RAW images (ISO 200, f9, 1/4000 to 4″) of totality from NE Georgia if Steve’s files could use a supplement.

  11. David

    Matt, Thanks for these videos and I’m looking forward to Thursday’s session. What I’ve noticed about my photos is that they are not really completely black, especially when I crop closer to the eclipse. This is actually ok when placing them side by side as they do tend to “blend” somewhat naturally, but not completely. The bigger issue is when I do something like a diagonal the background looks wrong no matter what color I choose since it does not match the crops. Wonder if you might be able to cover how to fill in the blank rest of the image after building the composite. I’m a Lightroom and On1 user and also Photoshop (but more of a novice there). Thanks in advance.

  12. John Callery

    Matt: Many thanks for doing this class on processing eclipse photos. I know I will learn something. The photos I took were from the Beech Creek Ranch with the Burns Paiute Tribe north of John Day Oregon. The conditions were perfect.

  13. Frank

    Looking forward to your webinar to see the editing ideas.
    Will you be using various tools (LR, PS, ON1, Affinity) throughout the webinar?

    I submitted some photos: a single image which I’ve been get a good sparkling diamond ring effect from, and a series of images before during and after the eclipse. All taken in Salem OR.

    Hopefully you get some great photos to edit!

    1. Author
      Matt K

      Hi Frank. I’ve done videos on this page that show ON1/Affinity. But during the webinar I’ll be using my Lightroom/Photoshop workflow. It’ll get confusing if I bounce around apps too much. Thanks

  14. Michael G.

    Cool! Thanks for this! Editing tips for these eclipse photos is just what I;m looking for. I plan to create a “faked landscape timelapse” like you showed in your Lightroom + Photoshop video. But I didn’t upload images of the phases of the eclipse – rather, I shared a 9-image bracket of totality taken in Jefferson City, Missouri, since you specifically asked for that.. Hope you can use it. I also have some diamond ring photos. I don’t have professional gear, but I thought they turned out pretty good.

    If we miss part or all of the webinar, will it be recorded for later viewing?

  15. Cheryl R.

    I’m so disappointed I can’t watch the webinar due to work responsibilities. Will it be available at a later time to view?

  16. Stephen Bontempo

    Thanks Matt – looking forward to the seminar. I just submitted a 9-image HDR bracket at 1-stop increments taken at the end of totality with red flares and the exit diamond ring.

  17. Alfonso Ponce

    Great video on how to use Lightroom for the photo effect. I’ll try to upload my photo. Thanks for doing the video.

  18. Rob A.

    Hi Matt, just submitted 6 CR2 files. Looking forward to the Webinar, Thanks much!

  19. Jeff Wilson

    hey Matt, just added several photos of totality and the wedding ring shot , thanks for hosting this webinar , looking forward to learning some tips and ideally how to maximize the pics to their full potential ..

    Thanks so much… – Jeff

  20. Mike M

    I just came across this and REALLY want to learn how to edit some of the shots I took. But I’m at work today and won’t have an opportunity to join the webinar. Will you be able to hold this more than one time? I truly want to learn more to enhance my images.

  21. Philip

    Matt, your live webinar was terrific. I had a question you weren’t able to get to during it. Hopefully you can answer it here. I had quite a bit of changing cloud cover during the eclipse. So I had to use different bracketed versions from shot to shot. Is there a way to adjust the exposures to get them to look the same, other than just by eye? This will help when I build the composite.

  22. Ana

    I had signed for the Webinar but got busy at work and could not join in. Are you going to have a replay of it?

  23. Peter Koekuyt

    I couldn’t access the webinar with the given Id. Will you post this video somewhere? Thank you

  24. Angus Hamilton

    Hi Matt. I submitted a whole series of eclipse photos taken in N Carolina as you said you were keen to see a sequence. As Im a visitor from the UK and on the road much of the trip and reliant on other’s wifi I just couldn’t make the webinar. I was hoping it might be available online. Will it be? Many thanks.

  25. Carole Shelley

    Hi Matt,
    I would love it if you could evaluate and maybe process the photos I sent on Dropbox. They are landscapes of eclipse. I’ve been having trouble adjusting exposure in LR without losing the eclipse. I tried developing it then using adjustment brush on eclipse only but that doesn’t give me the deep black I want there. I tried uploading 7 files to Dropbox before I left town. Only 3 uploaded. I’ll upload the rest Sunday when I return. Sorry. Also, I have an eclipse sequence with diamond ring etc but I don’t know if you have just gotten too bombarded with those. Your composure video was greAt!!! It was just what I was looking for. I love that it’s so simple in LR. Many thanks, Carole

    1. Author
      Matt K

      Hi Carole – I showed how to do something similar toward the end of the webinar video. It’s at the top of this page so you can rewatch. Thx!

  26. Eric Seale

    I signed up for the webinar, but was unable to tune in (thanks to a work commitment that popped up). Will the video be put online somewhere?

  27. Stephen Clayson


    The webinar was great. I have always felt like my time has been well spent when you are teaching. Thanks for answering my questions during the webinar. I just finished my composite and I am very happy with it. I enlarged the sequence of the partial eclipse and total slightly and kept it in the landscape shot over an old deserted train bridge. Deep blue sky, blah, blah, blah. Anyway, I like it. I also put a starburst on my “diamond ring” shot. More to come. Working on HDR and blending for the corona. Your tips were most helpful. Thanks again.

    Stephen Clayson

  28. Philip

    I have a question that is a little different. I put together a composite of my photos similar to the one you assembled in your introductory video. I’m quite pleased with it (even though I wasn’t in the totality zone) and want to order a print and frame it. I realize that print media type is in the eye of the beholder. But, given the subject matter, would you recommend luster, glossy, metallic or matte? My shots are reddish-yellow with a stark black background and white text and logo (I could upload a copy to you if you want to see it).

    1. Author
      Matt K

      To me, this isn’t an “art”-ish type of a photo. So I personally wouldn’t never go canvas or matte. If I were to print it, I’d go luster or metal. Good luck!

  29. Stephanie


    I tried your experimental method of adding a sun star in Lightroom. However, every time I tried to add the first ray and increase the exposure, the exposure of my entire photo increased as opposed to the bit within the radial filter. Any idea, what I am doing wrong?

    1. Author
      Matt K

      Hi. You probably have to choose the “Invert Mask” option for the Radial filter. IT’s at the bottom of the panel.

  30. Ronald Lebel

    Why do your images of the partial eclipse looks so strange? There is no illumination of the moon on the dark edge in most images I see and those I have taken. Yo don’t see a thin line on the moon opposite the crescent of the exposed sun area,

  31. Jim

    Hi Matt,

    Just uploaded a couple shots of totality. Wondering if there were any hints or suggestions on how to squeeze out the most from the photos? Would LR only work or would PS be better – especially if I want to make a composite?


  32. Larry

    Hi Matt,

    I’ve tried to create a composite image in Lightroom but I don’t see the Layout Style panel, just Layout. Is this a difference between Lightroom 6 (6.12) and Lightroom CC?


  33. David Devoe

    Hello Matt. Your eclipse composite instruction was great. Thanks. Stuck for a couple of hours though on retrieving the image (jpg or photoshop image) as a composite All I keep getting are the individual pics. Not the composite. I can print the composite but can’t save it as one file. I’m sure I’m missing a check box somewhere but baffled.

    Also I have some bleeding over of one image into another. Totality in particular has a huge glow beyond the disk. Would I use gradient tool to step down from one to another for smooth transition. How would I do that for circular objects. Thx

    1. Author
      Matt K

      Hi David – yes you’d either have to use the Gradient tool or just make a bigger square around it so you include the black.

  34. TJ Mills

    Hi Matt,
    Thanks for the video. Unfortunately, I was stumped when trying to set the page size in the Print Module under Page Setup….. I use LR CC and my Page Setup has a list of printers and I can’t just choose the page size.
    Do you or anyone know a way around this?

  35. Daffy

    Thank you! As a complete newbie to Photoshop, this tutorial really help with the creation of a basic eclipse collage.

  36. David

    Great Affinity video tutorial Matt. Thank you.
    I’m looking forward to you corona tutorial too.
    In Affinity, I am trying to figure out how to use the radial blur, calculation, and blend like one can do in Photoshop.


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