Tips for Taking Astronomic Photos

Choosing the Right Equipment

Taking great photos of the night sky requires more specialized equipment than standard photography. A digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera is ideal for capturing images of stars and other celestial objects. A DSLR is usually equipped with a removable lens, allowing you to choose a variety of lenses depending on your needs. A wide-angle lens is best when shooting star fields or constellations, while a telephoto lens will allow you to capture images of distant galaxies and nebulae.

You will also need a sturdy tripod to keep your camera steady while taking long exposures. A shutter release cable or wireless remote control can be used to reduce camera shake when taking pictures at slow shutter speeds. Finally, a flashlight with a red filter over the lens can be used to make adjustments in the dark without affecting your night vision.

Planning Your Shot

Before you head out for an evening of astrophotography, it’s important to do some research and plan your shot. You should always double check the moon phase and weather conditions before you go out to ensure that you have clear skies and no moonlight washing out the stars. If you are planning on capturing an image of a particular celestial object, you should use an app such as SkySafari or Stellarium to find its location in the sky and plan when it will be visible from your location.

You should also try to get familiar with any local light pollution sources that may affect your photos. Light pollution comes from artificial lights such as streetlights and car headlights and can wash out stars in your image if not taken into account. When scouting locations for astrophotography, look for places with as little light pollution as possible.

Setting Up Your Camera

Once you have chosen your gear and planned your shot, it’s time to set up your camera for astrophotography. It’s important that you take the time to properly configure all of the settings on your camera in order to get the best results possible.

Start by setting your camera’s ISO setting as low as possible (usually 100 or 200). This will help reduce digital noise in your images from long exposures. You should also set your white balance setting manually to “daylight” or “cloudy” depending on what kind of light pollution is present in the area.

When configuring shutter speed, aim for an exposure time between 15 seconds and 4 minutes depending on what kind of object you are photographing and how bright it is in the sky at the time. If you are shooting star trails or other long exposures, use bulb mode on your camera so that you can keep the shutter open for longer periods of time without having to continuously press down on the shutter button.

Finally, set your aperture to its widest setting (generally f/2.8 – f/4) so that more light can enter into the camera during long exposures. This will help reduce overall exposure times while still allowing enough light in for good quality images.

Taking Great Night Sky Photos

Now that you have all of your gear ready and settings configured correctly, it’s time to start shooting! To get sharp images with minimal motion blur, use manual focus and focus on infinity (or just slightly beyond infinity). You can also use live view mode on most cameras if available as this will give you a better indication of what is in focus than using just the viewfinder alone.

It’s also important that you adjust settings as needed throughout each shoot based on changing light levels due to clouds or moon phases if necessary. Experimenting with different exposure times and ISO settings can help you achieve different effects such as star trails or star points depending on what type of image you are trying to create.

Finally, remember that practice makes perfect! The more time spent photographing stars and other celestial objects, the better quality photos you will produce each time!


Astrophotography is both challenging and rewarding but with some patience and practice anyone can take stunning images of our night sky! By following these tips and doing some research beforehand, anyone can become an expert astrophotographer!