Night is the best time to take pictures of the sky. In fact, astrophotography enthusiasts will be able to take pictures of some astronomical phenomena during this period. However, it is not uncommon for them to have a major problem when trying to take pictures of the moon and stars: the lack of light. Here are 3 techniques to adopt to get successful photos.
To immortalize the moon or starry sky, certain conditions must be met. The smartest Prepare in advance for interesting shots with a stunning landscape in the foreground. In this sense, they do not hesitate to give an artistic touch to their photos by choosing the appropriate settings and the best tools for the final retouching.
You don’t have to be a photography professional to take pictures of the moon and stars. All you have to do is adopt the right gestures and apply some simple shooting rules.
Choosing the right material for pictures of the moon and stars
The first thing to do is to choose the best date taking into account the weather and the lunar calendar. This will check if the sky is clear before choosing the best shooting location. Feel free to wear warm clothes and recharge the phone battery. Equip yourself with a tripod that can be tilted up without forgetting the self-timer that will prevent camera shake when taking a picture. The red flashlight can be very useful in the dark. Note that all types of cameras can capture the night sky. but, Hybrid cameras with high ISO sensitivity and a lens with a focal length equal to or less than 35mm are recommended. If you are using a smartphone, check if it can be set to “Professional” mode. Otherwise, it is possible to download apps, Prime for iOS or ProCam X for Android, which allow you to shoot in manual mode. Some recent phones like the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra or Google Pixel 6 Pro have an integrated astrophotography mode.
Respect exposure time to capture more accurate photos of stars
Most smartphones and cameras allow you to take long exposures, that is, shots of several seconds. This step will be critical for detecting very small stars that are almost invisible to the naked eye. The principle is simple: By pressing the shutter button, the camera shutter will remain open for a few seconds to capture as much light as possible possible at the time of taking it. Place the camera first on the tripod and then turn off the camera’s optical stabilization. Then access the exposure time setting on the camera or by accessing the “Pro” mode of the smartphone. As a general rule, you should not exceed 20 seconds of exposure to photograph the stars. As such, the rule of 500 must be respected. This is the following mathematical formula that astrophotographers use to determine exposure time: 500 / focal length used in millimeters = exposure time. So if the lens used was 24 mm, the formula would be: 500/24 (mm) = 20.8 seconds.
Adjust ISO settings for successful moon and star photos
The correct choice of exposure time depends on the ISO settings but also on the opening of the diaphragm. These two parameters make it possible to capture more light and thus reduce the exposure time. When ISO values are high, digital noise will be significant, which may affect image quality. Likewise, the larger the aperture, the lower the sharpness of the image. It is therefore advisable to adopt a minimum value of 1600 ISO and leave the lens at f/2 or f/2.8, provided it takes advantage of a wide angle and the camera is able to increase its sensitivity effectively. Note that these values may vary depending on camera models and performance. It is then necessary to find the best balance between high ISO and digital noise reduction.
Certain settings are necessary to reduce light pollution and get successful night sky photographs. To achieve the gorgeous Milky Way, don’t forget to make some finishing touches to your photos by adjusting brightness, white balance, and color intensity through the use of programs like DxO Optics Pro and Lightroom.
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