Bite Size Tips: Milky Way Photography With 3 Stunning Photos Of The Night Sky

We have all seen those amazing shots of the night sky that show the milky way – the type that make you stop and look and maybe say “wow.” You know – ones like these:

Image from Pixabay by Skeeze

Image from Pixabay by Skeeze

Image from Pixabay by Derwiki

As photographers, these images are in the “easy to shoot, difficult to master category.”

The basics are these. 

  • Get a wide angle lens, the faster the better. Put your camera on a tripod. Point it at Sagittarius (use an iPhone app to find this constellation if you need to).
  • Start at these settings: ISO 3200 and the widest aperture possible (2.8 or wider if possible).
  • Use the 500 Rule to figure out your shutter speed. i.e. 500 / focal length (35mm equivalent). So if you're using a 20mm lens, your shutter speed will be 500/20 so about 25 seconds.
  • When you open up the raw file in post production, you are going to want to mess around with clarity, contrast, brightness and noise reduction.

Yup, that's about the basics.

If you go outside tonight with your average DSLR and a wide angle lens and follow the above, you'll get something – maybe not the shot of your life – but something. You can make your own judgements about exposure based off your test shots.

Now, this is one of those rabbit holes you can go a LONG way down. Setups, compositions, gear, post production – there is a LOT to be learned if you are motivated enough.

If it's for you, take a look at Josh Dunlop's Milky Way Mastery – it's the pick of the bunch right now.

If not, just get out and shoot and see what you can come up with. Because practice is how you get better!


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About the author

Dahlia Ambrose

Dahlia is one of the staff writers at Light Stalking and besides writing, she also responds to customer queries, schedules social media posts and helps with product development. She has been around seven years since she took up photography seriously and her main interests are travel photography and photographing the night sky. Some of her works can be seen on 500px and Instagram. She has a postgraduate research degree in Physics, a certificate in teaching, and a diploma in business administration and customer service. Her work experiences are varied from lecturing in science and engineering at colleges in India to working in various roles for retailers  and the local authority in the UK. She is now pursuing her passion for travel and photography where she spends a couple of months on each country she visits.

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