BEGIN How to Photograph the Night Sky | Corina's Corner

How to Photograph the Night Sky

9.17.2014
tips and tricks

One of my favorite things to photograph is the night sky. I am always looking for excuses to escape the city lights and stay up late to take pictures of the stars. I am continually trying to improve my skills but have learned a few things along the way that I'd love to share with you! Read along to see my tips:



1. Find a place with really dark skies. Escape the busy world for a while and get away from the city lights. I always try to take night sky pictures when I'm camping or on a late night hike. If you can't get away, try to find a less busy street with no street lights.



2. Use a tripod. Or if you don't have one, set your camera down on something stable. I don't always like bringing my tripod everywhere so I have been known to use a big rubbermaid bin, huge rocks, bridges, and the ground on occasion. Stability is really important in getting a good clear shot.



3. Don't touch your camera. To go along with the last tip, for even more stability use a remote or the self-timer. I don't love the remote I have (I need to get a new one) so I am often using the 2 second self-timer for night photos. It's basically a delay so that I can get my hands off the camera. To get the best shots, you don't want to be touching your camera because no matter how still you think you are being, you are still moving.



4. Use manual focus and set to infinity (∞). When I was first trying to take night pictures I could not figure out how to get the pictures in focus, and I hate when pictures are out of focus (just ask my family...). The key here is just to set it to manual and infinity.



5. Learn how to use the histogram on your camera. When you're shooting at night, and you look at the LCD screen, you'll probably think that the photos are bright enough, and then get home or look again in the morning and notice that the pictures are way too dark. The histogram on your camera will help you fix this problem. It's that charty looking thing that appears when you press info. Basically, if most of the lines are on the left side it means the pictures is too dark, and if most of the lines are on the right side it means the picture is too light. You want your lines spread out fairly evenly across the whole chart. This will be difficult shooting in the dark, but it is possible.

Most of these pictures I took with my wide angle lens, on manual (I always, always shoot in manual), with f/3.5-4, ISO 400 and somewhere between a 20-30 second shutter. It's all trial and error though, to get it exactly how you want it. The long shutter here is key, and sometimes allows you to catch neat shooting starts or satellites. Try it out! You'll love the results.

P.S. I'd love to see your pictures, if you try taking some night sky pictures comment below with a link!

36 comments:

  1. These are SO pretty! great tips, now I just need to get away!

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    1. Thank you! Yes! Get away and try it out.

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  2. thanks so much for the tips!! I'm excited to go out and try night sky pictures again!

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    1. You're welcome! Let me know how it goes!

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  3. Corina! I just have to say: I pinned this on pinterest and it is ON FIRE. Seriously, probably one of my most pinned items to date. Just wanted to say congrats! :)

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  4. Congratulations for these beautiful pictures! You gave me motivation to try night photography at once! Love your blog and hope to see more photography tips around here ;)

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  5. Thanks for these tips! I'm brand new to photography. I'm going to try night photos this weekend!

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  6. I've failed every time I've tried to get a picture of the night sky... can't wait to try these tips out!

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  7. Thx for the tips, have always held the camera & got what looked like small male parts all over the sky.lol.These tips are gonna be useful tonight when trying to get it.

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  8. these photos are very beautiful! and thank you so much for the tips, i'm excited for my next night sky shooting :D

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  9. I love night shot as well and I see that you like to add foreground to all your pictures. Use of painting with light on your long exposures is a great way to add dimension to your photo as well.

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  10. wow this is really helpful! I have tried to take pictures of the night sky but failed miserably , so I just gave up. I will sure take note of your tips.

    Thank you!!

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  11. Thank you for the tips but how do you set to infinity? :)

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    1. On your lens, when you change to manual focus, you turn your focus wheel until you're set on the infinity icon.

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  12. What lens do you recommend for being versatile enough for the mountain scene stuff (like your last one,) as well as the starry night ones you have above? These are gorgeous and I am feeling very inspired to try landscape (something I have been afraid of!)

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    1. Most of these pictures I took with either my 10-22mm and a few with my 28-75mm.

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  13. I don't have a lens that can be manually adjusted and I've never seen the infinity mode on my camera. I have a Canon PowerShot SX30 IS. Most of the settings are automatic. There is a manual mode, but not where I can adjust the lens except for zooming out. Is there a different setting that will do the same thing for this camera that you might be familiar with?

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    1. Hi Lynda, these tips only really apply to DSLRs, not Point and Shoot Cameras. Sorry!

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  14. Great shots. Thanks for your sharing

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  15. Help!! Want to photograph fireworks with my Canon EOS Rebel T2i . Any help would be appreciated! Thanks. New to photography.

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  16. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  17. this is mine: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=4489010121572&set=a.1722627483735.50920.1779806187&type=3&theater

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  18. from Chile I thank you when you get my photos you send them

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  19. Hi from Chile. Here we have one of the clearest skyes. I send you a link. Please comment. Thanks for your tips.
    This is one of my first: http://1drv.ms/1KztgYr

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  20. I enjoyed your article, thank you very much... I shoot Skyline and definitely its trial and error up front, but getting it dialed in consistently for me is a problem because of my light painting.. I specialize in Car Photography with Skyline... here is a link
    https://flic.kr/s/aHskan4FWZ

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  21. Thank you for this!! I am working on a project for my blog, and even though I am shooting structures, this gives me other techniques I can use!

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  22. Many thanks for great tips. How do you set focus to infinity please?

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  23. I started shooting the night sky last June. If you have the right equipment it's not hard. See my facebook page-The Heavens.

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  24. I started shooting the night sky last June. If you have the right equipment it's not hard. See my facebook page-The Heavens.

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  25. Very simple but useful tips. I'll give it a try and I will send you my pics. Thanks

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  26. I have been wanting to take night shots but could never figure out the right settings I'll try these tips thanks so much.

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  27. I have been wanting to take night shots but could never figure out the right settings I'll try these tips thanks so much.

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    1. Thanks. Kindly post your photos once you have done.

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  28. Found you via Pinterest! Your night sky images are gorgeous!

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  29. These photos are gorgeous! I've recently bought a tripod so can't wait to get out there on a clear night and try your tips!

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