Stargazing is the oldest of human pastimes. Taking pictures of the night sky has been popular for decades, but things have changed dramatically in recent years. Digital cameras and smartphones make capturing images of stars and constellations easier than ever before. With a few tips on astrophotography, you can take stunning photos that show off your favorite constellation or nebula like never before:
Understand your camera
To understand why you’re getting your photos the way you are, it’s good to first know what each of these things mean:
- Shutter speed is how long the shutter is open when you take a picture. The longer it stays open, the more light can get through and make its way into your image.
- ISO refers to the sensitivity of your sensor, which controls how much light can get into an image before it starts being noisy (grainy). The lower ISO number means that less light will be able to pass through—but if this number is too low and there isn’t enough light available for a shot, then even more noise will be added onto your images!
- Aperture refers to how large or small of an opening there is in front of your lens when taking pictures—and larger numbers here mean smaller openings while smaller numbers mean bigger ones.
Get a tripod
A tripod is a must for taking long exposures, which you’ll need for the stars. It’s also helpful for getting your composition right and holding your camera steady so you can take sharper photos.
If you don’t have one already, here are some options:
Use a remote release (or your camera’s timer)
You can also use your camera’s timer to avoid camera shake. This is a great option if you don’t own a remote release, but it does take some practice to get right. When using the timer, make sure that the lens is set to manual focus and then press the shutter button down halfway to focus on your subject before taking the photo. If you’re shooting stars with a wide-angle lens, try focusing just past infinity so that all of the stars will look sharp once they’re brought into focus by Photoshop or GIMP later on in this guide.
Once again, do not forget about shutter speed! If your camera has automatic settings enabled for its ISO and aperture—which I strongly recommend turning off—then there’s nothing else left for us here except getting these settings right before we move on toward capturing our perfect shot:
If you’re shooting in a dark area, focusing manually will be necessary to capture stars. The moon also can be photographed in manual focus mode and it’s good to know how to do that as well.
To focus on the stars, use the widest aperture (lowest f/number) of your lens and turn off autofocus. Then choose center focus points and use the live view function on your camera to zoom into the sky so that you can see where exactly you want to focus on while standing back from your camera at a distance of about 50 feet (15 meters). For example, if I’m using my 10mm prime lens at f/1.4 aperture focused at infinity without autofocus enabled, I would zoom into 100% resolution in live view mode with my D810A DSLR camera so that I could see exactly what part of my frame was being filled by each star before pressing down halfway on my shutter button for exposure lock.
Plan your composition
It’s always a good idea to plan your composition before you take the picture. This gives you an opportunity to think about your shot as a whole and how things are going to fit together in the final product. Consider where the horizon will fall, if there are any interesting foreground elements or backgrounds that might be included, and how much space there is in between these things (and whether or not it would be better to crop).
The rule of thirds is another great tool for creating interesting compositions with minimal effort. It suggests dividing an image into nine equal parts by drawing two horizontal lines along either side of your frame, then two vertical lines through the center point of those horizontal lines (this will create four “thirds”). Now imagine that each third is divided again by drawing another pair of lines from corner-to-corner at 45 degree angles from both sides—these imaginary lines should intersect each other at six locations within each third (or twelve locations across all three thirds). Your subject should preferably be placed along one of these intersections so that it doesn’t overpower any other parts of your scene
Dress for the weather
When it comes to cold weather, there are some things you can do that will make a huge difference in your comfort.
For example, if you’re going out at night in the winter and there’s even a small chance of snow, then you should wear boots with good treads. Snow makes photography difficult because it can fall on your camera and lens (and even melt into them). You also don’t want to be standing around too long without having something warm on your feet—your toes will get cold fast!
You’ll also want to dress in layers so that if one part of your body gets hot from exertion or movement but another part remains cold due to wind chill, then you’ll have the option of removing an extra layer or putting an extra layer back on. This same principle applies when hiking; having multiple layers means that if part of your clothing gets wet from rain or sweat while hiking through streams or muddy areas where water might collect over time before reaching its destination lake/river/ocean then at least most other parts will still be dry-ish so that they don’t become soaked through completely by themselves.
So, as you can see, photographing the stars is not an easy task. It requires a lot of patience and a healthy dose of luck. But if you work hard at it and put in the time, your photos will look worth all the effort.
In short: just be patient!
Practice will help you get better at taking photos of starry night sky.
The good news is that you don’t need to be a professional photographer to take great photos of the night sky. With enough practice and patience, you can learn how to capture all those beautiful stars in your camera lens.
To start with, it’s important that you understand that there are no shortcuts when it comes to learning photography. The only way for you to improve your skills as a photographer is by taking lots and lots of photos and learning from your mistakes along the way.
Another thing worth noting is that it doesn’t matter if you’re using an expensive or cheap camera because most modern digital cameras have built-in features that make it easy for anyone—even beginners—to take amazing pictures!
Free, hi res photos of a starry night sky
Here are 10 of our favorite photos of a starry night sky (繁星点点的夜空, звездное ночное небо):
- Photo by Drift Shutterbug from Pexels
- Photo by Hristo Fidanov from Pexels
- Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger from Pexels
- Photo by James Wheeler from Pexels
- Photo by Tomas Anunziata from Pexels
- Photo by Casey Horner from Unsplash
- Photo by Kristopher Roller from Unsplash
- Photo by Tobias Bjørkli from Pexels
- Photo by Kelly from Pexels
- Photo by Nick Kwan from Pexels
If you’re new to photography, starry night sky photography is a great subject to start with. It’s easy to find and capture, there are no people in the way, and it’s not as difficult as shooting portraits or landscapes. And if you’ve already been doing some other kinds of night photography, then this will be familiar territory for you. The main thing is just knowing what equipment you need and how best to use it – we hope these tips were helpful!