Essential Tips for Night Sky Photography

Last Updated on March 17, 2021

If you are a nighttime photographer you understand how passionate we get when pursuing the perfect shot at night. I’d argue that all photographers  come with an unusually high level of passion but there’s just something magical about capturing the nighttime sky and all its glory that drives you to a level of fanaticism. Here are a few tips that help me in my pursuit of the perfect shot of the nighttime sky.

Let your adventurous side out

Arizona night sky

If you want to capture an amazing shot you have to find something that is uncommon and awe-inspiring. My particular way of doing this is going on backpacking trips. I go on about a dozen backpacking trips a year and my camera is always with me.

You never know when this guy is going to offer you the perfect shot. I particularly enjoy hiking in the areas that are not visited frequently giving me great backdrops to frame my shots.

If I’m out visiting friends in the city I do the same thing. I explore the city and find the places that most photographers tend to miss.

Seriously take your time and go through your environment and get out there and see things that you’ve never seen before this will not only afford you more opportunities for a great shop was going to stretch your imagination and bring out your creativity and new an awesome ways.

Get to Know Your Camera and Your Lens

Alabama night sky

While I enjoy getting into my photography gear and nerding out on the tech specs it’s incredibly important to limit yourself in what care you have available. Bring only one lens and see what you can do with it.

Grab just your best camera for night photography or take one you tend to leave at home. Play with the settings find out exactly what each of them does in combinations that you’ve never tried before.

You’re going to take a lot of shots you don’t like but that’s part of the fun and that’s how you truly master the nighttime shot. I’ve written a guide on the settings that I recommend for night time photography and yes you should probably give it a read, once you have the basics down it’s great to spend a lot of time out in the field where you just play with your camera and get to know it. Experiment have fun because that’s what it’s all about.

Don’t Forget the Rest of the Gear that You’re Going to Need

We photographers sometimes only think about what’s in the camera bag but if you’re a nighttime photographer you should definitely take some time to consider what you’re going to need other than your equipment.

What do I mean? Let’s take for example when I’m out to have backpacking trip, I make sure that I have plenty of clothing is appropriate for the circumstances and the weather.

And since I love to do multi day trips and make sure that I have all of the gear that I need to have a successful time out shooting the nighttime sky. So if you are like me and enjoy getting out the backcountry make sure that you fully invested in all of the outdoor gear that you need for a great shot.

Even those who are into taking nighttime City pictures having the right clothing and Equipment will make a huge difference on how long you can stay out taking those shots.

Don’t shortchange yourself and make sure that you’re fully prepared so that nothing gets in the way of you and your photography.

Always Test Your Gear

A lot of my photography friends love being spontaneous and hey I get it I’m with you.

But when it comes to setting yourself up for success you have to have gear that won’t let you down. Check your camera lenses your bag and everything else that you bring with you to make sure it’s functioning properly.

If you’re going to use a tripod make sure that it’s good to go before you get outside. Nothing will cut your photo session short and ruin your trip out for night time photography faster than finding out that something isn’t working right. Take a little time and you’ll be sure to get the shot that  you’re looking for.

 Variety is Key

Most of the time when I’m doing photography I love going solo. To me it’s like meditation and true happiness when I’m out there with just me the camera in the nighttime sky.

But to avoid getting stuck in a rut I love to also go out with friends at night. I’ll join up with my photographer friends and my friends who don’t take pictures and then I love to bounce off ideas and just generally let them break up my at times myopic vision.

Don’t underestimate the importance of who you spend your time with them when you are out there taking pictures make sure that you are spending time both taking pictures alone and with other people.