Beginners tips for a perfect stars shooting at night

Shooting stars at night sky is not an easy task, and if it seems like this, it requires technical capabilities in using the camera, understanding its settings and preparing the necessary equipment. But that doesn’t mean you can’t picture stars like a pro.

In his article we will talk about the equipment that the photographer needs, and the role that the choice of location plays in the photography process so that he can capture the optimal image, and here are his tips:

Equipment and fixtures

1- Camera

The astrophotography process requires a digital SLR camera, or a camera that allows you to manually control shutter speed, aperture, and light-sensing settings. And the automatic camera won’t let you get the results you were looking for.

2- Aperture lens

You will need a wide aperture lens, which usually has the “f” written on the lens. Another way to check the wide aperture is by adjusting the aperture settings on the camera.

The aperture width controls the amount of light that will penetrate the lens. And since you will be shooting at night, you will need a lens with a larger aperture.

3- Tripod headrest

You will need a tripod, which the more stable the better. And since you will be shooting long exposure, this means that it is necessary for the camera to be fixed in place for a specified period of time, because any vibration will result in blurry and blurry images, which we are trying to avoid.

4- Remote control

The photographer indicated that this tool is not necessary, but it does make it easier to shoot, as it helps to avoid camera shake when the shutter button is pressed. And if you don’t have this tool, the alternative solution is to simply use the timer function on the camera to delay the capture by two seconds. That way, you avoid camera shake when taking the photo. You can also use the trigger to remotely control the camera’s flashlight settings, allowing you to take pictures of more than 30 seconds.

shooting stars at night

5- Flashlight

A flashlight is a very useful tool, which can be used during long exposure photography to help you lighten things that you want to appear in the foreground. For example, the lamp can be used to color a tree or some rocks etc.

You can also use the flashlight creatively if you want to be featured in your photo. Surely you have seen the pictures roaming the web that show people pointing the lamp at the stars in their photos.

Learn how to professionally photograph the stars and sky at night

Night photography, especially star photography, is one of the areas of photography that is growing very quickly, so you should at least have a little knowledge of how to photograph stars and the sky at night. We will talk about two principles that you must be aware of before you go out to photograph the stars for the first time. .

First: The Earth is rotating. This means that you are able to visualize the star formations, but after starting the shooting with approximately 15 seconds, you will find a blurring of the vision of the stars due to the movement of the earth.

Second, you must first know two constellations: the Big Bear and the Gemini.

Why its better to choose the Big Dipper and Gemini?

First, because they are so bright, they are easy to find in the night sky. Second, besides being the favorite of many photographers, Gemini is usually high in the sky enough to be photographed with the other stars surrounding him. It may also be lowered, which helps you to have nice front elements in your formations.

Finally, you can be guided by the two stars that make up the end of the road for the Big Bear to find the North Star. Then look at the lower star in the last part of the Big Dipper, and you will find the end is not round. Draw a line from the bottom of a star in the bear to the highest star in it, and continue this line until you see the Little Dipper. This line (and these two stars) point to the last star in the axis of the Little Dipper.

Why is this important? The last star in the axis of the Big Dipper is Polaris – the North Star. If you know where Polaris (the Pole Star) is located, you can point your camera in that direction with a longer exposure time and you will get orbital star trails instead of blurred formations.

photoghraphy station

1- Night sky

The importance of location selection in the astrophotography process, as you should choose the darkest and darkest locations. This means that you should avoid being in places close to cities, as the light emitted from them is a type of light pollution, which makes observing the stars very difficult.

Therefore, the most suitable place to photograph the night sky will be the International Dark Sky Reserves for sure. There, you will find the sky is clear and lined with twinkling stars, as they are protected from light pollution. You can do a Google search to see if there is a Dark Sky Sanctuary near your home.

2- Themes

Note that during the search for a location to photograph the night sky, you can visits the area during the day first. The reason for this is that he wants to search for a topic or center of interest to include in the photos he takes. As such, the background of the photo will include bright stars, as well as an interesting subject in the foreground.

shooting stars at night

Camera settings

1-Shutter Speed

If you want to shoot in long exposures (slow shutter speeds) during the astrophotography process, the sensor in your camera will give you enough time to record those tiny points of light flash. The ideal time for this is between 20 and 30 seconds.

And if you want to avoid taking pictures of star trails, all you have to do is use the “base 600”. And since we are standing in fixed places on the Earth, when the Earth rotates, the stars will move very slowly in the sky in front of the camera lens, causing the stars to create a path of light. These images can be very unique. But if you don’t want to capture it, divide 600 by the value of the focal length you are using in your photography.

You should indicate that the focal length that you should always use is 16 millimeters because you want the shot to contain as many stars as possible. In this case, the score of 600/16 is 37.5, which means that you can use the shutter speed for 37 seconds before the stars start creating paths in the image.

In contrast, if the goal of the photographer is to capture images of the star trail, the best way to do so is to take a series of continuous photos. You can indicate that you should take a series of 100 photos and creates the star trail in post-shoot processing.

2-Aperture lens

When it comes to selecting aperture settings, it is best to shoot as wide as the viewfinder can allow (the smallest “f”). This will allow the largest amount of light to penetrate into the camera. This means that you can shoot with the low-level light-sensor settings which is always desirable, and you can also control the shutter speed when you like. As for us, the camera’s lenses allow us to use 2.8 f when photographing stars.

3- ISO settings

The ISO settings are usually between 800 and 2000. We have indicated that we always use a slow shutter speed and keeps the light-sensor settings to a minimum, as this helps reduce noise in the images.

shooting stars at night

4- Focus

The focus process requires setting the lens to manual focus and adjusting it to infinity, which makes photographing distant objects safer. Most lenses have an “infinity” sign, which is a small “L” or “I” written on the lens’ focus ring.

After adjusting the lens, take a photo, and then enlarge it using the “LCD” display and the magnifying glass button on the back of the camera. If the subject isn’t 100% accurate, try resetting focus slightly and take another photo.

Repeat until the stars are in focus of the lens. And if you want to focus on a tree or any other subject to be in the foreground of the image, all you have to do is set the camera to the auto adjustment function, direct the lamp light to that subject until it lights up, then focus with the lens until the camera notifies you that your target has been Check. Then, go back to manual focus without moving the focus ring, this means all of your photos are in focus and will be sharp.

5- Lens fixation

Some lenses have this option, while others do not. If your viewfinder has a stabilization system, you should turn off this system when shooting long exposures with a tripod. In fact, this prevents the camera or lens from constantly trying to achieve automatic stabilization. In addition to the fact that the tripod actually stabilizes the camera, the result is sharper images.

shooting stars at night


1- Lightroom program

You should not be discouraged if the photos you take are not the same as the ones you have seen on the Internet or in magazines, because the post-shooting process contains many magic tricks. During this stage, you can adjust some important settings such as brightness, whiteness, exposure, and sharpness, in order to highlight these stars in the photos.


After I managed to take a series of pictures of stars to create a path, the next step will be to include all the images within the “Lightroom” program, and make some adjustments to make this path appear in one image only.

Now you have to sync the edits you made to this image using the other series of images and upload them into Photoshop in layers. Once you upload these pictures, highlight them all. Using the Layer tab, adjust the setting from Normal to Lighten. Ultimately, you’ll get the paths of light you’ve been aspiring for from the start.