Get Stunning Starry Photos with this Easy Astrophotography Tutorial

Been wanting to shoot beautiful, long exposures of the starry night sky but don’t know where to start? The folks from Mango Street have shared some quick and easy tips to usher you into astrophotography.

If you’ve ever drooled over those stunning snaps of a clear night sky peppered with stars, you’d probably be thrilled to know that you can get those photos, too. All you need to do is to plan a shoot on a cloudless night, find a nice spot to camp away from the city lights, equip your camera with a wide angle lens (a 24mm f/1.4 will do great), a tripod, a cable release, have the energy to pull an all-nighter (you’ll want to experiment), and watch this astrophotography primer.


To sum it all up:

  • A wide angle lens will get you a big coverage of the night sky and a portion of your surrounds for some nice foreground.
  • Remember the 500 Rule, which is a simple equation based on the focal point of your lens to determine the maximum exposure time before you start getting star trails. This allows you to get sharp long exposures of the night sky, if that’s what you’re going for.
  • Use your camera’s Live View to select a patch in the sky to photograph, then manually focus.
  • A cable release will minimize shake when you take your photos. But if you don’t have one you can just use your camera’s self timer to give you time to take away your hands before the shutter fires.
  • Go ahead and experiment, but keep your ISO and aperture as low as possible.

If you’d like to take a break from prowling the city for nighttime street photography, you can give this more laid-back style a try. We think this is a great technique to include in your night photography arsenal, especially if you love traveling and camping.