Light trails: enhance your night shots with this really simple photo editing tutorial

Light trails 20

Light trails step by step – steps 7-9

07 Draw a red trail

Click to place a point by the car’s rear lamp, move the cursor to the right and then Shift-click to draw a straight line between the two points. Go to the Layers palette and set the Light Trail layer’s blending mode to Lighten. This reveals detail from the layer below and creates a more realistic light trail texture.

08 Draw a yellow trail

Click on the foreground colour swatch and choose a yellow (H:48, S:62, B:93) from the Colour Picker. Click OK. Create a new transparent layer called ‘Yellow Trail’. Set the layer’s blending mode to Color Dodge. Set the tip Size to 100 pixels. Click the start of the red light trail and Shift-click at the end to draw a yellow streak.

SEE MORE: The 10 Rules of Photo Composition (and why they work)

09 Transform the perspective

In the Layers palette, Shift-click on the two light trail layers to highlight them both. Go to Image>Transform>Perspective. A bounding box will appear around the trails. Click and drag the bounding box’s top-left control handle downwards to narrow the start of the light trails.

Light trails step by step – steps 1-3
Light trails step by step – steps 4-6
Light trails step by step – steps 7-9
Light trails step by step – steps 10-12
Light trails step by step – steps 13-15
Light trails step by step – steps 16-18


Night sky photography: pro secrets for stunning moonlight landscapes
White balance explained: how your camera corrects the colour of different kinds of lighting
Download our Night Photography Exposure Guide: free photography cheat sheet
How to take pictures at night: spotting creative scenes after dark