How do I take pictures of the Milky Way?

Phone camera settings for star photography

The Milky Way cannot usually be seen through our naked eyes, but can be captured with long exposures in cameras.

,This kind of photography is called u2018star photographyu2019 or u2018astrophotography,It has to be done in a place far away from the town/city to avoid light pollutionu2019.

Hills and mountains are the best places for star photography because the air is thinner at higher altitudes, also there is less light pollution due to scarce population.

,Now, download a mobile app to see the star map, and locate the Milky Way.

,Now set up your camera on a tripod.

Wide angle lenses with an aperture of f/2.

8 or bigger are preferred.

Compose your scene.

Put your lens on manual focus and focus on the stars.

,Make sure your ISO is 3200 or higher.

Your aperture should be wide open and shutter speed should be 20sec to avoid star trails on longer shutter durations.

,Thats it.

Now take this image and post-process it in Lightroom until it looks how you want it to be.

,Note : No moon or new moon day is preferred for obvious reasons.

,Some of the best full-frame lenses for astrophotography:Rokinon/Samyang 14mm f/2.

8,Nikon 14u201324mm f/2.

8,Tamron 15u201330mm f/2.

8,Canon 16u201335mm f/2.

8 USM II,For APS-C cameras, Tokina 11u201316 f/2.

8 and Tokina 11u201320 f/2.

8 RULE.

PERIOD,Now, if you wish to take this kind of image on a phone.

You have to make sure the phone camera system has manual control.

,Then, just put it on a tripod, select 20u201330 sec exposures with above mentioned steps and you will get the desired image.

,But, A big but.

Phone cameras are way worse than modern day DSLR/Mirrorless systems for this kind of photography.

Because, big sensors can capture more light without much noise.

,Additional Info:Mounts such as the Star Adventurer are the ultimate solution for astrophotography.

They track the motion of the stars and rotate your camera to follow it.

Android camera settings for star photography

Step 1 u2013 Calculate the Moon Phase: Shooting under a 25% to full moon is ideal for star trails photography.

This allows the moon to light the entire landscape which provides added foreground detail to your images.

Shoot in the opposite direction of the moon, allowing your stars to be the brightest light in the sky.

Use Star Dateu2019s Moon Calculator for precise results.

,Step 2 u2013 Find Dark Skies: Blue Marble Light Pollution Map u2013 2014 Edition is a great website for finding dark sky locations near you.

Areas that are black are ideal for photographing the night sky, were white areas are light polluted and should be avoided.

,Step 3 u2013 Find Clear Skies & Predict the Weather: You will want to shoot with cloud cover percentages of 0 u2013 50% maximum for star trails photography.

In video 1 below I teach this technique and provide more insight.

,Step 4 u2013 Learn The Photographers Ephemeris ( TPE ): TPE is a great tool / app for planning moonset and moonrise times and locations for star trails photography.

Learn how to use it in the video below.

Get TPE For: Desktop | iPhone | AndroidStep 5 u2013 Learn to Use Google Earth / Maps: Google Earth / Maps is the best way to plan your shooting location, prior to arrival.

Learn my exact techniques for photography planning with Google Earth in the video below.

Get Google Earth For: Desktop | iPhone | AndroidCamera Settings u2013 Star Trails PhotographyTo be clear and concise on the camera settings for Star Trails Photography, Iu2019ve provided a quick reference overview list below.

In the sections that follow Iu2019ll explain the most important settings in more detail.

,Here are the best camera settings for star trail photography:,Camera Mode: Manual Mode u2013 This mode allows you to independently and manually adjust the ISO, Aperture, and Exposure time by hand.

,Image Format: RAW Image FormatMetering Mode: I find Matrix Metering on my Nikon D800 to work the best for star trails photography.

This is Evaluative Metering for Cannon.

Test your settings to find the best fit.

,,White / Color Balance: Kelvin Values between 4000K-5500K work well for night photography.

Youu2019ll want the color balance seen on the back of your camera ( image review ) to be as close as possible to what you see in front of you ( the landscape / night sky ).

A neutral color balance such as this captures the best data for photo editing.

You can adjust the color balance to anything you want, while editing star trails photos, as taught below.

,,Aperture: Aperture settings of f/2.

8 u2013 f/5.

6 work well.

The aperture setting is not as important in star trail photos as in Milky Way photos.

You can experiment to see what works best.

I prefer to shoot at f/2.

8-f/4 for star trail shots.

,,Focal Length: For star trails any focal length will work.

The larger the focal length (zooming in with your lens), the longer your star trails will appear over a shorter amount of time ( Reference u2013 Selecting Exposure Time for Milky Way Photography ).

,If you donu2019t want to wait around all night to capture a star trail scene, a zoom lens will be your best choice.

If youu2019re interested in capturing a full, wide angle star trail scene showing a long star trail transition across the sky, a few hours will be required.

,The best way to see this in physical form is to go out and try some test shots in the field.

This will show you how different lenses or focal lengths exhibit different star trail lengths over a given period of time.

Another good reference is the 500 Rule Chart & 500 Rule Equation which will show the direct correlation between star trails and focal length in a mathematical manner.

,,Exposure Time / Shutter Speed:Full Frame Camera: 30 u2013 60 seconds works well to capture star trails per Method 1 as described below.

The longer the exposure the more u201cfar away lightu201d your camera will capture.

,A longer exposure picks up more light at a greater distance from our planet.

In turn you will see stars that you wouldnu2019t have with a shorter exposure time.

,On the other hand, light sources closer to our planet will appear even brighter at longer exposure times.

This applies for any type of night photography.

Using a longer exposure will allow you to keep your ISO low, reducing noise, and providing a higher quality image.

,Crop Sensor Camera: 30 u2013 120 seconds works well when shooting per the instructions provided in Method 1 below.

Since crop sensor cameras donu2019t handle high ISO as well as full frame cameras, the exposure time may need to be increased.

Donu2019t be afraid to try out 120 second exposures and see how they work using a lower ISO and in turn providing higher overall image quality.

,Reference the Exposure Time Settings Section below for complete details.

,,ISO / Film Speed: ISO settings for star trails photography depend on how much ambient light ( moon / light pollution ) is present in the scene you are shooting.

,It works well to shoot star trails when the Moon is visible in the sky.

Make sure to shoot in the opposite direction of the Moon.

The Moon light allows you to capture well exposed star trail shots while keeping your ISO fairly low.

Try starting at ISO 300, increasing as required to approximately ISO 800.

Increase your ISO until your image is correctly exposed.

,Night Photography Tip: If your shot isnu2019t bright enough, and you can still increase your exposure time, always do this instead of increasing your ISO too far beyond 800.

,ISO is the worst case method of increasing the brightness of your star trail shots since it is the only setting that degrades image quality.

For those of you shooting with a crop sensor, itu2019s best practice to stay within the range of ISO 160-500.

,Trying higher ISO values such as 800 will never hurt.

Itu2019s all about getting a nice exposure, without much noise.

,,In Camera Noise Reduction Settings: Reference my Simple & Powerful Noise Reduction for Star, Milky Way & Night Sky Photography Tutorial for complete details on why I choose each of the following settings:,Long Exposure Noise Reduction Setting u2013 Set to Off,High ISO Noise Reduction Setting u2013 Set to Normal,Stacking Star Trails PhotosPreferred MethodThe preferred method for capturing star trail photos involves using multiple exposures, each capturing small star trails over an elapsed period of time.

The star trail camera settings for each of these overlaid exposures is exactly the same.

The only thing that changes is the position of the stars relative to the Earth.

,Next, each of these night photography images can be batch processed in Adobe Lightroom or Adobe Camera RAW then imported into Photoshop and processed as described in the Star Trails Post Processing section below.

Camera settings for stars Nikon

Step 1 u2013 Calculate the Moon Phase: Shooting under a 25% to full moon is ideal for star trails photography.

This allows the moon to light the entire landscape which provides added foreground detail to your images.

Shoot in the opposite direction of the moon, allowing your stars to be the brightest light in the sky.

Use Star Dateu2019s Moon Calculator for precise results.

,Step 2 u2013 Find Dark Skies: Blue Marble Light Pollution Map u2013 2014 Edition is a great website for finding dark sky locations near you.

Areas that are black are ideal for photographing the night sky, were white areas are light polluted and should be avoided.

,Step 3 u2013 Find Clear Skies & Predict the Weather: You will want to shoot with cloud cover percentages of 0 u2013 50% maximum for star trails photography.

In video 1 below I teach this technique and provide more insight.

,Step 4 u2013 Learn The Photographers Ephemeris ( TPE ): TPE is a great tool / app for planning moonset and moonrise times and locations for star trails photography.

Learn how to use it in the video below.

Get TPE For: Desktop | iPhone | AndroidStep 5 u2013 Learn to Use Google Earth / Maps: Google Earth / Maps is the best way to plan your shooting location, prior to arrival.

Learn my exact techniques for photography planning with Google Earth in the video below.

Get Google Earth For: Desktop | iPhone | AndroidCamera Settings u2013 Star Trails PhotographyTo be clear and concise on the camera settings for Star Trails Photography, Iu2019ve provided a quick reference overview list below.

In the sections that follow Iu2019ll explain the most important settings in more detail.

,Here are the best camera settings for star trail photography:,Camera Mode: Manual Mode u2013 This mode allows you to independently and manually adjust the ISO, Aperture, and Exposure time by hand.

,Image Format: RAW Image FormatMetering Mode: I find Matrix Metering on my Nikon D800 to work the best for star trails photography.

This is Evaluative Metering for Cannon.

Test your settings to find the best fit.

,,White / Color Balance: Kelvin Values between 4000K-5500K work well for night photography.

Youu2019ll want the color balance seen on the back of your camera ( image review ) to be as close as possible to what you see in front of you ( the landscape / night sky ).

A neutral color balance such as this captures the best data for photo editing.

You can adjust the color balance to anything you want, while editing star trails photos, as taught below.

,,Aperture: Aperture settings of f/2.

8 u2013 f/5.

6 work well.

The aperture setting is not as important in star trail photos as in Milky Way photos.

You can experiment to see what works best.

I prefer to shoot at f/2.

8-f/4 for star trail shots.

,,Focal Length: For star trails any focal length will work.

The larger the focal length (zooming in with your lens), the longer your star trails will appear over a shorter amount of time ( Reference u2013 Selecting Exposure Time for Milky Way Photography ).

,If you donu2019t want to wait around all night to capture a star trail scene, a zoom lens will be your best choice.

If youu2019re interested in capturing a full, wide angle star trail scene showing a long star trail transition across the sky, a few hours will be required.

,The best way to see this in physical form is to go out and try some test shots in the field.

This will show you how different lenses or focal lengths exhibit different star trail lengths over a given period of time.

Another good reference is the 500 Rule Chart & 500 Rule Equation which will show the direct correlation between star trails and focal length in a mathematical manner.

,,Exposure Time / Shutter Speed:Full Frame Camera: 30 u2013 60 seconds works well to capture star trails per Method 1 as described below.

The longer the exposure the more u201cfar away lightu201d your camera will capture.

,A longer exposure picks up more light at a greater distance from our planet.

In turn you will see stars that you wouldnu2019t have with a shorter exposure time.

,On the other hand, light sources closer to our planet will appear even brighter at longer exposure times.

This applies for any type of night photography.

Using a longer exposure will allow you to keep your ISO low, reducing noise, and providing a higher quality image.

,Crop Sensor Camera: 30 u2013 120 seconds works well when shooting per the instructions provided in Method 1 below.

Since crop sensor cameras donu2019t handle high ISO as well as full frame cameras, the exposure time may need to be increased.

Donu2019t be afraid to try out 120 second exposures and see how they work using a lower ISO and in turn providing higher overall image quality.

,Reference the Exposure Time Settings Section below for complete details.

,,ISO / Film Speed: ISO settings for star trails photography depend on how much ambient light ( moon / light pollution ) is present in the scene you are shooting.

,It works well to shoot star trails when the Moon is visible in the sky.

Make sure to shoot in the opposite direction of the Moon.

The Moon light allows you to capture well exposed star trail shots while keeping your ISO fairly low.

Try starting at ISO 300, increasing as required to approximately ISO 800.

Increase your ISO until your image is correctly exposed.

,Night Photography Tip: If your shot isnu2019t bright enough, and you can still increase your exposure time, always do this instead of increasing your ISO too far beyond 800.

,ISO is the worst case method of increasing the brightness of your star trail shots since it is the only setting that degrades image quality.

For those of you shooting with a crop sensor, itu2019s best practice to stay within the range of ISO 160-500.

,Trying higher ISO values such as 800 will never hurt.

Itu2019s all about getting a nice exposure, without much noise.

,,In Camera Noise Reduction Settings: Reference my Simple & Powerful Noise Reduction for Star, Milky Way & Night Sky Photography Tutorial for complete details on why I choose each of the following settings:,Long Exposure Noise Reduction Setting u2013 Set to Off,High ISO Noise Reduction Setting u2013 Set to Normal,Stacking Star Trails PhotosPreferred MethodThe preferred method for capturing star trail photos involves using multiple exposures, each capturing small star trails over an elapsed period of time.

The star trail camera settings for each of these overlaid exposures is exactly the same.

The only thing that changes is the position of the stars relative to the Earth.

,Next, each of these night photography images can be batch processed in Adobe Lightroom or Adobe Camera RAW then imported into Photoshop and processed as described in the Star Trails Post Processing section below.

Camera settings for long exposure stars

Method - I(Level: Beginner),Go to a wide open space thatu2019s devoid of high raise buildings or tall trees, and stare at the sun.

You will see it rise up from one direction and set in the opposite direction, again and again, every single day.

If you do this for long enough, you might begin to realize that the Earth is spinning, albeit very slowly.

,Method - II(Level: Intermediate),Take out your SLR/DSLR camera, set the focus to infinity and point it at the night sky (preferably not cloudy) for a couple hours for long exposure.

You will capture a beautiful star trail, showing all of the heavens with bazillion stars and galaxies spinning slowly but steadily.

If youu2019re not too self-centered, you will realize that its not the rest of the universe, but the Earth that is spinning around its own axis.

,Method - III(Level: Advanced),Construct a Foucault pendulum.

Let the pendulum swing.

You will observe that the plane of the oscillation of the pendulum precesses, or changes in orientation.

If you contemplate on why this might be happening, you will realize that the simplest explanation for this is the rotation of the earth.

,Bonus Method(Level: Astronaut),Get your astronaut training, get on a space ship and go to outer space (Donu2019t forget your space suit).

While you sink in the glory of the cosmos, take a look at the blue planet that you just left.

You will notice it spinning really slowly while also going around a bright star.

Now that you have first-hand proof of earthu2019s rotation, come back to earth and tell others.

(And donu2019t feel bad if some donu2019t believe you)

Star photography camera

It is very difficult to say particular this or that is the best for start Photography.

But with my little knowledge I can say, if you are new in this field click photo in CA mode .

CA means creative auto mode.

What ever may be the situation, there is 75% chance you will get awesome Photographs.

Star photography settings iPhone

After putting the leading smartphones u2014 including the new Galaxy S9+ u2014 through in-depth testing and photo comparisons, we think the Pixel 2 XL has the best camera around.

Googles phone has the best low-light performance, and it uses computational photography to produce high-end photo effects.

,But its a close battle.

The Pixel 2 XL just edges out the iPhone X, which has an excellent optical zoom and uses its dual rear cameras to produce great-looking portrait shots.

Think of the iPhone X as a close runner-up to the Pixel 2 XL and certainly the best iOS camera phone you can buy.

,Were also impressed by the improvements Samsung made to the Galaxy S9+, which not only has dual rear cameras of its own, but a variable aperture on its main lens for improved photos in low-light.

(The single-lens Galaxy S9 has that same variable lens feature.

),Stay tuned for a detailed camera face-off between this trio of flagship phones.

Until then, you can see all of other top camera phone picks below, as well as more info on how we test camera phones and tips on what to look for when youu2019re shopping.

,News and Updates (Updated March 8)In addition to our Galaxy S9+ review, you can take a closer look at some of the test images we shot with the phones camera.

,Even though Huaweis Mate 10 Pro and its AI-powered camera just arrived in the U.

S.

, the Chinese phone maker reportedly has another major phone in the works.

The Huawei P20 will reportedly feature dual rear cameras when it arrives later this spring, and a pro version of that device is rumored to have three lenses.

Huawei has a press event planned for Paris on March 27, but its unclear if the P20 (or whatever Huawei ends up announcing) will reach the U.

S.

,GOOGLE PIXEL 2 XL,Best Overall Camera PhoneAfter putting the Google Pixel 2 XL and the iPhone X through multiple faceoffs, weu2019re convinced that Google makes the phone with the best smartphone camera.

It performs more consistently in lower light, and it excels at taking self-portraits.

The real story with the Pixel 2 XL involves the computational smarts Google packed into the phoneu2019s camera.

Despite the lone rear lens on both the Pixel 2 and 2 XL, those phones can create Portrait Mode-style pictures similar to the iPhone X and Galaxy Note 8 with a stylish background blur.

Better yet, they can achieve the same effect through their front cameras as well, which should definitely help you up your selfie game.

The Pixel 2 duo are also Googles first handsets to feature the Pixel Visual Core, a purpose-built sub-processor specially designed to improve the processing of HDR+ photos, which makes the beautiful images you capture look even better.

,SAMSUNG GALAXY S9+,Best Camera FeaturesSamsung focused on improving the cameras on its latest smartphones, and Galaxy S9+ owners will reap the rewards for that decision.

The most obvious change is a second rear lens, which lets the S9+ capture Live Focus shots with blurred backgrounds just like the Galaxy Note 8.

But the real star of the show is the variable aperture on the S9+u2019s main rear camera.

In low light settings, it can switch to a wide f/1.

5 aperture, which means your photos look sharper, even when you capture them in the dark.

The S9 camera also has dedicated memory aimed at reducing noise in your finished photos.

,APPLE IPHONE X,Best iOS Camera PhoneThe iPhone X closely matches the photography prowess of the Pixel 2 XL.

While we give the nod to Googleu2019s phone, Appleu2019s flagship stands out when it comes to its 2x optical zoom.

That feature is made possible by a pair of rear lenses u2014 a 12-MP wide-angle shooter and a 12-MP telephoto lens u2014 that let you zoom in for a more detailed image without losing sharpness or clarity.

The iPhone Xu2019s dual rear cameras also help with Portrait Mode, letting you add lighting and blur effects to photos.

Because Apple built a lot of smarts into the front TrueDepth camera, you can add those same effects to your selfies.

,ASUS ZENFONE 3 ZOOM,Best Budget Camera PhoneWith dual 12-megapixel rear cameras capable of up to a 2.

3x optical zoom, the Asus ZenFone 3 Zoom offers one of the best photography experiences you get on a phone for less than $400.

In addition to its long reach, the ZenFone 3 Zoom also sports a full-featured pro mode, a dedicated color correction sensor and 4-axis optical image stabilization to ensure your shots stay shake-free.

Up front, the ZenFone 3 Zoom features a sharp 13-MP selfie cam, complete with all the beauty mode settings you ever need.

And with a battery that lasts more than 16 hours on charge, its safe to say the ZenFone 3 Zoom should have enough juice to capture your favorite moments.

,HUAWEI MATE 10 PRO,Best for SelfiesLike the Pixel 2, Huaweis Mate 10 Pro helps out its camera with some on-board smarts.

The Kirin 970 mobile processor powering the phone sports its own dedicated neural processing unit so when you point the phones camera at an object, the Mate 10 Pro knows exactly what its looking at.

This is particularly helpful for self-portraits using the Mate 10 Pros 8-MP front camera, as the neural processor inside the phone can detect faces of people and pets and adjust camera settings on the fly for some satisfying selfies.

,LG V30,Best for Video, Best for LandscapesThe latest addition to LGu2019s V series of phones adds to your video bag of tricks with Cine Video effects.

These 16 filters give your videos a stylish look, emulating everything from Thriller to Romantic Comedy to help set the proper mood.

Videographers will like being able save their shoots in the Cine Log format, while a Point Zoom feature gives you the power to zoom in on any area of the frame instead of just the center.

Like its fellow LG phone the G6, the V30 also excels at taking wide-angle shots with its dual rear cameras.

Just like LGs year-old G6 phone, the V30 also excels at capturing gorgeous, expansive cityscapes and hillsides, thanks to a dual-camera setup that supplements a 16-MP standard lens with a 13-MP wide-angle one.

LG is planning an updated version of the V30, the LG V30S ThinQ, for later this spring; it will add artificial intelligence feature to the camera, similar to the capabilities of the Mate 10 Pro.

,How We Test Smartphone CamerasWe put the markets leading handsets through a variety of common shooting situations, such as landscapes, portraits and selfies in daylight and at night.

Then, we analyze each set of images on a color-calibrated monitor to see which smartphone had the best combination of color accuracy, clarity and contrast.

We also perform in-depth camera comparisons between the top phones, using each handset in their auto mode to take a wide range of photos in different conditions.

After declaring a winner in each round, we name an overall winner of that face-off.

,In each of our smartphone reviews, we also factor in any special features, such as dual lenses and what they enable, Portrait Modes, and other special modes, before we come to a conclusion.

,5 Quick Tips for Buying a Camera PhoneThe megapixels donu2019t matter as much as aperture.

Cameras with a wider aperture (lower f-stop numbers mean wider lenses) let in more light, which can help produce better shots in the dark.

,Not all dual lenses are created equal.

While more smartphones are featuring dual rear cameras, those cameras donu2019t necessarily perform the same.

Some phones like the Galaxy Note 8 and iPhone X use their dual lenses to allow for depth-of-field effects; others, like the LG V30, just let you switch between wide-angle and standard lenses.

,Do you need Portrait mode? It goes by different names u2014 Portrait mode on the iPhone, Live Photos on the Note 8 u2014 but more phones let you play around with bokeh effects.

Thatu2019s where the subject of the photo is in sharp focus, while the background features an artistic blur.

While thatu2019s mostly a feature on dual-camera phones, the single-lens Pixel uses software to produce a bokeh effect.

Some phones also let you adjust the effect before and after you take a shot.

,The front camera specs are just as important.

In a world where weu2019re taking more selfies, you shouldnu2019t overlook a phoneu2019s front camera.

Besides the megapixels, check out the aperture to get a sense of how the camera will perform in low-light.

And some front cameras, like the ones on the iPhone X and Pixel 2, can perform the same Portrait mode effects that dual rear cameras pull off.

,Donu2019t forget about video.

Your cameras shoot more than just still images.

Consider what resolution the camera captures video at along with the frame rate.

(The LG V30, for example, can record 4K video at 30 frames per second, while the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus double the frame rate to 60 fps for 4K video.

) Also look at the camera offers slow-motion features and video filters.