How to shoot stars? Earlier in the blog, we talked about how to take beautiful and high-quality astro images using a professional camera and a telescope. But not everyone has such equipment. Do not despair, you can take a beautiful picture even from a smartphone. In this article, we will tell you how to effectively photograph the starry night sky on your phone.
It is best to photograph the stars outside the city. The closer you are to the settlement, the more the light from the lanterns and various objects interferes. They light up the frame. As a result, it turns out to be too bright, and the stars are almost invisible. It is best to go 30+ km from the city. Mountains will approach, a clearing in front of the forest, an edge near a reservoir. The main thing is that the sky is dark.
The satellite of the Earth is bright and shines tens of thousands of times stronger than all lanterns, stars and meteors. The moon and its light are not needed in the frame (unless otherwise intended). Otherwise, there will be too much light, and at high ISO this will give a lot of overexposed areas. Use the moon phase calendar. Make sure the night is dark, and then go on a “photo hunt”.
The sky should be without clouds and clouds. It is desirable that there is no wind — moving trees and clouds will create unnecessary interference. They will have to be removed later in the photo editor.
Not every phone can capture the night sky beautifully. The most budget models with a poor camera cannot clearly “catch” stars, comets, etc. Therefore, if you plan to take astrophotos and generally photograph people, nature, animals, it is better to purchase a camera phone. Such smartphones are both budget and expensive. About how to choose a phone with a good camera and which models you should pay attention to, they told in the blog.
It is also better to take a tripod for shooting. Since hand shake will blur the frame. Shooting stars in the dark usually requires a slow shutter speed. And within a few seconds it is almost impossible to hold the phone absolutely still in your hands.
Proper mode on a smartphone
How to take a picture of the starry sky on an Android phone or iPhone? In the first case, you can use 2 modes that are available on almost every smartphone: PRO and Night.
In the case of the iPhone, the situation is slightly different. It does not have the usual PRO mode. The user in the «Photo» mode can change some settings, but not the ISO or white balance. Additional applications are needed to correct them. We will talk about them a little later.
It may be called differently. For example: Manual, Professional, PRO. The main thing is that you can adjust the shooting parameters in it (something that cannot be done in automatic mode).
How to take a picture of the stars and the sky on any Android phone (Samsung, Xiaomi, etc.)? You need to configure 3 main parameters.
This indicator determines the sensitivity of the matrix in the light that falls on it. The higher the ISO, the brighter the photo. But the more «noise» — the picture becomes «grainy».
To shoot the night sky and stars, set the minimum ISO value (from 100 to 1200). The optimal ISO level is chosen through trial and error. It depends on the features of the camera, the intensity of lighting around.
Why is it better not to set a very high ISO? The physical size of the phone’s matrix is much smaller than that of a camera. And if at 3600 ISO there is not much noise on professional equipment, then on a smartphone the image will be all “grainy”.
Shutter speed (S)
This indicator indicates the period during which the diaphragm remains open. This is necessary for light to hit the camera matrix. The lower the shutter speed, the darker the picture. The higher it is, the more light hits the matrix and the brighter the frame. Exposure when shooting heavenly bodies should be set to the maximum. The higher the score, the more stars will be in the picture.
White balance (WB)
Indicates the color temperature of the image. The indicator is measured in Kelvin. The lower the value, the colder the tone. The higher, the warmer. You will have to set this indicator yourself. Since it completely depends on the shooting conditions.
Do I need to edit the photo? Yes. Most often, you need to increase the contrast and further improve the white balance.
May also be called Night photo, Night mode.
Photos taken in this mode differ from those taken in Professional mode. For example, the Samsung S22 series has artificial intelligence (AI). In the process of night shooting, he himself corrects the frame, makes it more “magazine”: clear, bright, corrects the white balance. These images often require post-processing.
How to take a picture of the night sky on an iPhone in this mode? On models that accurately support this mode (currently iPhone 11 and above), it turns on automatically. It is enough for the phone to “understand” that the light is low now. He “understands” this thanks to AI and a light sensor. At the top of the screen, the Night Mode icon (moon) turns yellow. All settings are automatic.
How to take a picture of the sky in night mode on Android? You can select it in the mode menu (usually a carousel at the bottom of the screen). All parameters are automatic, nothing can be configured. This mode is suitable for those who do not want to understand the camera settings, but simply want to capture a beautiful sky.
How to take beautiful pictures of the stars on your Huawei phone
Some Android smartphones have a special mode called Stars. For example, it is found on Huawei smartphones. It’s easy to find it:
- go to the Camera app;
- select the More tab;
- click on Light;
- select star mode;
- fix the phone and click on the start shooting icon;
- press this button again when you want to end shooting.
This method will help you take a picture of star tracks (when the stars move across the sky, they leave a trail).
More photo apps
Popular editor for iPhone and Android. Paid: for iPhone 99 rubles, for Android 65 rubles.
The main advantage is that you can not only edit ready-made photos, but also immediately shoot from the camera in this application. Can be customized:
- white balance;
- manual focus;
- frame sharpness.
There are no presets or beautiful effects in the app. For shooting with manual settings only.
A paid application (750 rubles) that will help you take pictures of the stars on your iPhone. This is a complete utility that will expand the capabilities of the camera. Can:
- set shutter speed, ISO, white balance, exposure;
- make video acceleration and deceleration;
- turn on interval shooting (allows you to capture the slow motion of objects to create unusual images);
- enable/disable image stabilization;
- put a watermark on the photo;
- adjust the flash and much more.
In addition, ProCam 8 has more than 50 filters and 19 photo editing tools. If the starry sky shot is not bright enough or interesting enough, you can correct it.
Paid (379 rubles) application for Android. Not all smartphones have a Professional mode, or the tools available in it are not enough for the user. Such a utility will help in this case. You can take photos right from the app. Can:
- adjust ISO, shutter speed, white balance, focus, brightness, frame sharpness;
- set preset settings for different modes;
- shoot video in high definition;
- speed up and slow down video recording;
- create interval shots.
There are also other applications that can be used for post-processing images. We have already discussed in detail about the 7 best programs for editing photos on a smartphone in the blog.
We hope that our advice will be useful to you. And now you can take beautiful and colorful photos of the starry sky on your smartphone.