How to photograph stars

November 16, 2014  •  Leave a Comment
How to Photograph The Stars
 
Camera Settings
- Set your camera to Manual or Bulb mode. Shoot in RAW if possible.
 
Use a tripod
- Long exposures are needed to capture the stars. Trying to shoot handheld will result in extremely blurry images.
 
Use a shutter cable
Using the shutter button on your camera body may cause very small vibrations, blurring your photo. Use a shutter cable to alleviate the potential problem.
 
Kill the flash
Using your flash will do nothing but kill your batteries..and possibly light up unwanted subjects (people, trees, animals, Sasquatch)
 
Shutter Speed
In order to "freeze" the stars in place, keep your shutter speed under 30 seconds.
 
Aperture
Set your f/ stop as low as possible .
 
ISO
You'll need your camera to take in as much light as possible. An ISO setting of 800-1600 is best.
 
Focal Length
The wider the better! Anything around 18mm is ideal.
 
Light Pollution
Try to get as far away from cities as possible. Light pollution will ruin your shot. You should try to get at least 50 miles away from a densely populated area with a lot of light pollution. Also try to shoot the sky with the city to your back to reduce the chance of light pollution
 
Experiment  
Try different settings until you find the ones that suit what you are looking for. Write them down or enter them into your smartphone just in case you accidently change something.
 
Check the weather  
Naturally, clouds will not be your friend. Neither is the moon. A full moon will drown out the dimmer stars. Also if it is a muggy night, it make be difficult to get quality shots. Low humidity, cloudless and moonless nights are your friend.
 
Focus  
Set your focus to manual. That way the lens won't try to refocus before every shot. Set the focus to near infinity and take test shots until you find what is best for you.

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