image stacking example

Night Photographers use a process called “image stacking” that allows us to (among other things) make extremely long, 1-8 hour exposures that would otherwise be impossible due to overexposure. We take several images that are “stacked” or combined into a single, composite image. Over the years I’ve used a variety of applications to stack these images together including Keith’s Image Stacker, Startrails,exe, LR/Enfuse, “Open in Photoshop as Layers” and older versions of Dr. Brown’s Stack-A-Matic script. Limitations of these processes were frustrating and super slow which made it difficult to teach at workshops.

A few months ago I emailed Russell Brown (AKA: Dr. Brown) with a list of suggestions that I thought might make Stack-A-Matic a lot more usable for night photographers and the particular type of image stacking that we do. Russell is a night photography enthusiast and liked this idea. We spent the next month trying out and tweaking beta versions of Stack-A-Matic. It’s become THE way to finish off image stacking projects. You can download the new Stack-A-Matic script from Dr. Brown’s site right now – it’s free. There’s even a demonstration video that’s shows Stack-A-Matic in action.

This new version of Stack-A-Matic (v2.1.6 and newer) requires Photoshop CS5 Standard and purportedly works on CS4 Standard as well. The Extended versions of Photoshop are NOT required. There’s also lots of other great goodies to download. I’ve been a big fan of Image Processor Pro which comes with Dr. Brown’s Services.


Russell joined us at the Mono Lake Night Photography Festival last month to make images with us and to present this new script to an ideal target audience. I got a chance to make a night portrait of Russell and geek out with him for a few nights of image making. Russell and I will be hosting a session about night photography and image stacking at Photoshop World next month. Image Stacking will be a regular technique taught at all of my night photography workshops, and during private workshops/training.

I’m really excited that this process is finally easy enough for anyone to try out. Have fun! Let me know if I can help.

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