What is image stacking?

Image stacking (or framestacking) is a popular method of image processing among astrophotographers – photographers who take pictures of stars.

Courtesy ceastronomy.org


Image stacking combines multiple images of the same subject shot at different times to create a stunning result. One of the most popular types of framestacking is used to create what photography professionals call star trails. By stacking multiple images together to create a single image you can create the illusion of the stars moving across the sky.


Here’s a detailed and somewhat technical explanation of image stacking.

We’ve found a few of our favorite framestacking videos to share with you today. I’m sure you’ll agree the results are impressive.

ISS Startrails

This stunning video was created by combining shots taken by NASA at the International Space Station to create an out of this world experience. All of the shots are stunning, but some of my favorites occur at the end. I particularly enjoy watching the moon slowly sink into the horizon.



Nevada Nights

The Nevada sky is certainly beautiful at night as this framestacking video illustrates. The video creator combined a variety of still photographs to create some amazing star trails photos and video. As you can see, this type of photograph lends itself especially well to music. Maybe you could create a music video of your own using framestacking and our music video creator.



Star Timelapse

When done properly a framestacking photo can create dramatic night skyscapes, like the ones found in this video. I love the rich colors and the clarity each shot brings. One of the advantages of framestacking over simply using a long exposure is the ability to produce crystal clear images, which can be difficult with extended exposure times.



If these gorgeous videos aren’t enough to inspire you, I don’t know what will. Grab your camera and create some magic of your own. Once you have the shots, IRIS is free and has a strong user community.

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