Outdoor Photography Tech

Dos And Don’ts When Photographing The Stars

star trails and star photography

Star images can embrace simply photographing the celebs, the Milky Approach and even star trails. Photographing these heavenly objects at night time requires a variety of planning and a few additional assets than what you’d require for daytime images.

There are some issues that you ought to be doing and never doing in relation to star and astrophotography and that’s what we might be discussing intimately on this article.

star trails and star photography


Right here is What You Ought to be Doing When Photographing the Stars:

The images ideas under ought to aid you get began with star images.

Discover The Proper Location:

  • You need to be in an space the place there’s least mild air pollution. Relying on how big and the way a lot mild the town has, it’s higher to be about 20 to 50 or 70 miles away from the closest metropolis. Web sites like Mild Air pollution Map and the Darkish Sky Finder can be utilized to seek out darkish skies or places nearer to the place you reside.
  • Scout your location and go to them through the day when you can, to search for attainable compositions as a result of star images with a fantastic foreground can look ethereal.
  • You might want to have clear skies though occasional clouds are positive. Plan your shoot by checking the climate forecasts for the situation you may be capturing.
  • It’s good to reach on the location earlier than sundown so that you simply get a greater understanding of the panorama round and also can reduce the danger of accidents at the hours of darkness.
milky way over lake


Endurance is Key:

Photographing the celebs requires a number of endurance as a result of chances are you’ll not get it proper the primary time. That you must keep in mind numerous environmental elements and check out totally different settings to get it proper. Furthermore, totally different places and situations require totally different digital camera settings and therefore endurance and follow is the one approach that may aid you get the most effective star photographs.

You Have to Maintain an Eye on Moon Phases:

Control the moon phases and the most effective time can be to shoot throughout a brand new moon or on an evening when the moon isn’t up within the sky or perhaps an evening when there’s a crescent moon so you need to use the ambient mild to light up the panorama. Mild from a brighter moon could make the celebs look faint and the sky can lose its distinction.

Shoot on the Proper Time of the Yr:

In case you are trying to shoot the Milky Method, you’ll want to be capturing them throughout sure occasions of the yr when they’re above the horizon. The months between April and October are one of the best occasions when the Milky Method is above the horizon within the night time sky and it’s through the summer time seasons of July and August, that the Milky Approach seems as a shiny band throughout the night time sky. Throughout different occasions, it’s near or under the horizon at night time.

You Have to Use the Proper Gear:

  • Have a sturdy well-built tripod for star images as you may be coping with lengthy exposures and typically beneath chilly and windy circumstances. Any small digital camera shake can break your picture.
  • If you should use a climate sealed digital camera and lens, the higher as it will possibly stand up to the chilly and moist climate circumstances.
  • You want a digital camera that has guide mode performance in an effort to have extra artistic management whereas adjusting the iso, aperture and shutter velocity manually. It additionally wants to reply properly in low mild and excessive iso and be able to capturing uncooked.
  • You want a quick and wide-angle lens with focal lengths between 14mm to 24mm and aperture no less than f/2.eight so you possibly can seize a large scene of the foreground and the sky and shoot at decrease iso values because the f/2.eight aperture will let in additional mild into the lens.
  • For these starting with a package lens, you shouldn’t be put away by the package lens as it’s good for a begin. Attempt at iso 1600 and relying on what your digital camera data, you’ll be able to step up the iso.


  • You could use the guide focus performance of the lens as you don’t want to lose focus every time you’re taking a shot.

You Have to Have the Proper Equipment:

  • Some equipment you will want to have are a flashlight if you’ll be mild portray the foreground and that will help you discover your means by means of the darkish, a purple headlamp for any work at the hours of darkness and a compass to know the instructions.
  • Be sure to have additional absolutely charged batteries and a few formatted reminiscence playing cards to get you thru lengthy capturing periods.
  • Maintain the batteries as heat as attainable as they will discharge shortly in chilly climate circumstances. It’s advisable to have a battery pack for emergency conditions as a backup.
  • Have a cable launch when you’ve got one as this may be tremendously useful.
  • Use an intervalometer for time-lapse images in case your digital camera doesn’t have an inbuilt one.
camera recording star trails

 Insung Yoon

You Have to Get the Assist of the Proper Instruments:

  • Have a smartphone with apps just like the Sky Information app or  Star Stroll 2 to find the Milky Method or in case you are making star trails, you need to use these apps to find the North Star for the Northern Hemisphere and Southern Cross for the Southern Hemisphere.
  • Make use of instruments like Stellarium, an internet program that helps you find the celebs which might be within the area of view within the location the place you’re. It additionally lets you see what the sky will seem like for a specific location and exhibits you moon phases and the sunshine air pollution of the situation as properly.
  • The Photographer’s Ephemeris lets you plan capturing for night time images with the situation of the moon, Milky Approach, and so on.
  • Use Photopills for iOS and Android that lets you calculate occasions for any style of images. You possibly can simply calculate the precise date and time for when and the way the Milky Approach is over the scene you imagined.
  • 500 Rule Calculator for iOS is a useful gizmo for photographers who have to calculate correct publicity time for star images and keep away from star trails
  • 600 Rule Calculator for iOS is one other device for photographers to calculate correct publicity time for star images, however this might create some star trails. So it’s higher to make use of this setting when capturing for net pictures.
  • Pin Level Stars for Android helps to calculate the most effective publicity occasions for star and milky means images
night sky and snow capped mountains

Patrick Carr

Get Your Digital camera Settings Proper:

  • First off, flip off picture stabilization as soon as your digital camera is on the tripod. That is one thing many people overlook to do.
  • Make it possible for the main target is about proper. Do that by manually specializing in a really shiny star or a distant mild. Zoom in on reside view to verify that the main target is level sharp. Take a check shot to examine for focus and make changes if essential. You’ll be able to all the time make a short lived mark in your lens for this level in case you’re proud of it, however checking it throughout every capturing session is essential.
  • When you have a foreground that you simply need to embrace in your body, you’ll be able to focus one third into the scene manually. Illuminate the foreground with a flashlight throughout this course of so you possibly can see the world to get the main target proper.
milky way astrophotography and star photography


  • Calculate most publicity time based mostly on the 500 rule to be able to keep away from star trails. That is comparatively easy – you divide 500 by your focal size and use that quantity as your shutter velocity for a full body digital camera. In case you are utilizing a crop sensor physique, take the crop issue under consideration and divide 500 by crop issue occasions focal size. If you may be capturing the aurora together with the celebs, then you’ll need to have a quicker shutter velocity if the aurora exercise is excessive so you possibly can seize the small print of the aurora patterns.
  • If you may be capturing for net pictures and won’t be bothered about printing the pictures giant, you should use the 600 rule the place you divide 600 by the focal size of your lens
  • Use a shutter launch or timer delay function in your digital camera to launch the shutter so that you simply keep away from blur as a consequence of digital camera shake when releasing the shutter.
  • When utilizing a DSLR, use the mirror lockup function to keep away from blur because of mirror motion.
  • White stability might be set to tungsten or daylight to get the suitable sky colours, and even set to auto. Keep in mind, you possibly can all the time change this whereas post-processing as you may be capturing uncooked.
man looking at the stars


Illuminating The Panorama for Star Images:

If you wish to have foreground particulars in star images, you possibly can accomplish it utilizing the next strategies.

  • Bracket photographs and mix them whereas post-processing
  • Take two photographs – one uncovered for the foreground and one other uncovered for the sky and mix them whereas post-processing. That is useful in conditions the place the foreground is sort of removed from the digital camera.
  • If there are close by (not too shut) parts that you may be together with within the body, mild paint them for a number of seconds through the publicity, in order that their particulars are recorded. Be certain that to not use very harsh lights as these can create overexposed areas within the body.
  • Or use 1 / 4 moon to light up the panorama, however ensure that it’s in a path reverse to the path you may be photographing.

Be Prepared for the Climate Outdoors:

Gown appropriately for the climate as some clear nights could be extraordinarily chilly. Put on heat garments and have heat drinks to get you thru the night time. You need to use heat material to maintain your gear heat as properly. Additionally, maintain bug sprays in hand, you by no means know when chances are you’ll want them.

Submit Course of Your Star Photographs:

  • All the time shoot uncooked so that you’ve higher flexibility when submit processing and it helps to regulate white stability in case you didn’t get it proper in your digital camera.
  • Don’t forget to publish course of your photographs as your straight out of digital camera picture will lack the distinction and unique colours. Some primary changes like publicity, distinction, highlights, shadows, whites, black, readability and vibrance ought to get your picture to the way you want it.
  • Barely improve the whites and reduce the blacks. Including some readability will help outline the celebs, however don’t push it an excessive amount of. Including a little bit of sharpening will even assist get some crisp particulars within the stars.
  • Make use of the noise discount perform if there’s evident noise within the picture.
  • Apart from the above, in case you are on the lookout for extra colours in your picture, make use of the cut up firming and HSL panels to get the colours you want.
tree silhouette with milky way and star photography


  • In case you are making star trails, make use of apps like StarStax which is free or photoshop so you will get the work completed in a couple of minutes.
star trails and city lights


Now that we’ve got seen all of the issues that must be executed for star images, you additionally have to know what you shouldn’t be doing in relation to star images.

Listed here are some issues that you simply shouldn’t be doing when photographing the celebs:

  • Firstly, in case you are in search of a heavenly wanting star picture, don’t stay in a city or metropolis the place there’s mild air pollution as these will solely blind the impact of stars. Keep away from cities and head out to a rural location the place the skies are very darkish.
  • As chances are you’ll know, in case you are in a wonderfully darkish location, you possibly can see the milky means and different constellations with your personal eyes. Just remember to flip off all of the lights together with the lights out of your cellular and digital camera’s LCD in an effort to get a transparent view of the sky. This can aid you and some other photographers who’re with you to see and photograph a transparent darkish sky.
star photography with silhouette


  • Don’t use flimsy tripods as they will shake through the slightest of breeze and make your footage blurry. Use a sturdy tripod that may stand up to harsh and windy circumstances.
  • Don’t breathe in your lens particularly throughout chilly circumstances as this could make issues worse for you. Attempt your greatest to maintain the digital camera and lens heat by wrapping with heat material if potential.
  • Don’t expose spare batteries to the chilly as they will lose their cost, as an alternative hold them in your coat pockets near your physique to assist retain their life.
  • Don’t use autofocus for star images as the main target can change whereas releasing the shutter and trigger blurry photographs. Additionally with autofocus, you’ll by no means know if the main target was proper on the celebs and it will possibly change with every shot.
  • Don’t improve the iso past the restrict that your digital camera can deal with because the noise turns into extremely evident and may render the picture unusable. It’s best to remain inside 1600 to 3200 and less than that.
  • When capturing photographs for star trails to mix whereas post-processing, don’t use the noise discount function in your digital camera because the time interval between photographs will double thereby creating breaks in star trails
  • When making a single publicity star path picture, don’t activate noise discount choice of any sort as it might double the publicity time or much more. Additionally, don’t use excessive iso on this case because the picture may be overexposed. Begin with the bottom iso.
  • Don’t go above the utmost really helpful shutter velocity above which you will notice evident star trails particularly if you may be printing the pictures. So keep by the 500 rule or the NPF rule.
  • Don’t use your digital camera’s inbuilt flash to mild up the scene as it will probably blow out your foreground and make the sky look very faint. As an alternative, use an exterior flash to light up any foregrounds or topics in a managed method (soften the sunshine) for a shorter time period.
  • Don’t shoot the celebs or the Milky Means on a full moon night time, or on nights when the moon is excessive up within the sky as it will probably wash out all the small print of the celebs and scale back the distinction within the sky. New moon nights, nights with no moon or crescent moons are the most effective days to shoot stars at night time.
evening desert and stars

Thomas Shellberg

  • Don’t photograph simply the sky as it may possibly look boring and let the viewer wander throughout the body with no resting level. So ensure that your night time sky images has one thing included like timber, mountains, constructing, ruins, barns, and so forth., to enrich the sky.
night sky, milky way, star photography


  • When together with foreground parts for star images, don’t place or mild the foreground parts in such a approach that they grow to be the focus within the picture. Your focus is the celebs or the Milky Approach and so, compose and illuminate the body in such a method that there’s visible stability between the foreground and the sky.

In case you are into night time sky or star images, do you could have any tricks to share with us? In that case, please tell us within the feedback part under. When you’ve got not tried star images, then you will need to give it a attempt because the night time sky is a tremendous topic to photograph. It is not so robust as you assume – begin with the essential gear that you’ve.

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