Starry night photo shoot – shooting the milky way

We always like to shoot a clear starry night. I know everyone shoots starts and it is somewhat blunt. The same saying goes for shooting sunsets, but we like it. There is something magical, beyond this world, when looking at the milky way along with all the stars there are in the sky.
Anyhow, one evening we went outside the city to shoot the stars… We are, by no means, pros at shooting the night sky, but here are my favorite settings for a successful photo:

  • Use tripod;
  • Shoot with a full-frame, or don’t :). Its sensor is big enough to catch more information from the dark sky without much noise, which is helpful, but crop sensor is a good choice too. Heck even the point-and-shoot can produce somewhat good photos (if it has manual mode)… for the social media, at least;
  • For dramatic landscape use wide angle lenses;
  • Shoot at the maximum opened aperture your lens has. That way you can get the furthest of stars, as more light touches the sensor. The lower the number of the aperture the lower ISO you can use, so the lower the noise in the image;
  • Shoot at somewhat high ISO – from 1600 to even 3200 if you prefer. Again the sensor catches the most out of the scarce light;
  • Shoot at somewhat high speed. The lower the speed the blurrier the stars. They move, you know. If the speed is 10 second or 15 seconds there is not much visible star trail, and the stars look sharp, and again you get good exposure, but if the speed is up to 30 seconds the stars become blurred. The optimal speed for me is 10-15 seconds.

So, tweak your settings and experiment. The most important thing here is you need light in your image, the more light comes to the sensor, the more the stars in the image. Also, look for city light pollution free areas, no moon or clouds. Otherwise you will not see any stars. Enjoy your shooting, but before that, here are some photos from that clear night.