The Night Sky + 7 Tips to Take Galaxy Photos

Here are seven tips to help you take galaxy photos.

7 Tips to Take Galaxy Photos

1.  Freshly Charged Batteries

Taking multiple long exposure shots, especially if you have live view on, will drain your battery power fast. Be sure to also have a spare set, just in case you run out of juice in the first set.

photographing night sky
ISO: 12800 f-stop: 3.5 exposure time: 20 seconds – The ISO being set to 12800 is what give the image the milky haze and the white grain when you zoom in

2.  Manual Mode

Manual mode is not scary. I promise.

The quick settings I start with for night shots are f-stop as low as the number goes, exposure length of about 20 seconds, and ISO of 3200. If the exposure length is longer than 25 seconds you start to get small star trails. I think it’s pretty cool that in such a short amount of time, the camera can capture the movement.

7 Tips to Take Galaxy Photos

3.  Infinite Focus

Infinite focus is a setting on your focus ring that makes everything in focus whether it is close to the camera or far away like to stars. To set your camera to infinite focus, you need it in manual focus versus automatic focus. This is usually a setting to adjust on the lens.

7 Tips to Take Galaxy Photos
Don’t be afraid to play around with making your night photos black and white

4.  Tripod

No matter how still you think you can hold your camera, it will not be still enough to get crisp stars in your shot. Invest in a tripod if you are serious about taking star photos.

For those of you unsure of what tripod you might want to get, I use this tripod for all my long exposure shots.

7 Tips to Take Galaxy Photos

5.  Shutter Remote or Timer

For the longest time, I didn’t have a shutter remote and I didn’t know how to use the timer on my camera. Finally, I asked how it all worked in class. Now my favorite way to snap a photo is to use my remote.

Check out this remote for Nikon and this remote for Canon.

7 Tips to Take Galaxy Photos
Unedited

6.  RAW Photos

Throughout my years in photo class, I stubbornly would shoot all my photos in JPEG. It wasn’t until I couldn’t print my photos large enough for my senior project that I recognized the benefit of RAW files.

JPEG files are condensed and a lot of the information that your camera gathers while taking the shot is discarded. RAW files save all the info from taking the shot.

7 Tips to Take Galaxy Photos
Sometimes the clouds make an interesting focal point

7.  Patience

For every 20 second image I shoot, it takes another 20 seconds for the camera to process the data gathered. If you choose to leave your shutter open for a half hour, for example, it will take about another 30 minutes to process the info for that photo. To process that single image will take approximately one hour.

Have you taken photos of the night sky? What is one of your tips?

P.S.  Don’t forget to PIN this post to your “Photography” board! 😉

12 Comments

  1. Awesome pictures! Unfortunately, in my area, the stars aren’t even visible to the naked eye at night! Usually, we just get the moon, if we are lucky.

    • Thank you! 🙂 🙂
      That is so sad!! I cannot even imagine not being able to see the stars. It would be like a piece of the night is missing.

  2. Wow how awesome! I’m so going to try this!

  3. That’s such a cool article! It definitely stands out from many others and inspires me to give those night sky shots a try. I love photography but my night images never looked good because I had no clue how to do it… Thanks a lot!

  4. Beautiful photos. Thanks for the advice, I hope that I will be able to photograph Milky Way.

  5. You sweep me up in your in journey as you passionately explain your love- obsession for photo-capturing the skies. I too am obsessed with sky gazing . It’s like I am trying to decode hidden messages there. Your love for photography is inspiring

  6. I actually have a lot of trouble taking pictures of the night sky, so these tips were so helpful! Mine always come out blurry, or the stars are not recognizably at all. I think the most useful tip for me to use would be patience to put all the other tips together to capture the perfect shot!

    • Niki Gordon

      Patentice is the most difficult for me too. Especially when the wind is howling and it is cold. Tag me on Instagram if you take any more photos. I really want to see them! @chasingdepartures

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