Astrophotography Tutorial: 4 Tips for Taking Stellar Shots of Nighttime Skies (VIDEO)

You may be surprised to learn that long-exposure photography at night can be accomplished without any specialized equipment, and if you watch this two-minute tutorial from Mango Street you’ll be able to easily capture stellar images of starlit skies.

Unless you’re specifically trying to photograph star trails, the goal is to render stars as sharply as possible. The video explains how to use a simple guideline called the “500 Rule” to determine the maximum exposure time for capturing crisp stars, depending upon the focal length of your lens. With a shutter speed longer than what the 500 Rule suggests, you’ll start seeing star trails in your images.

The quick tutorial covers several other basics, like using manual focus in Live View, avoiding camera shake with a cable release or your camera’s two-second timer (and a tripod), and how to experiment with exposure settings based upon the position of the moon and the ambient light in your scene.

You can find more shooting tips on the Mango Street YouTube channel, and be sure to look at our earlier tutorial with eight more tips for great nighttime photographs.