How To Take Photos Of The Milky Way Without Star Trails

The Milky Way is hardly seen with the naked eye because of the lights present at your home and streets. These lights are too bright for your eyes, which explains why it affects the glow of Milky Way at night. However, using the latest gadget like DSLRs, the Milky Way can now be easily captured in a photo. If you are into night photography and the Milky Way is your next subject, here are some camera settings you can follow. Capture the incredible lights of the Milky Way and be amazed by its natural beauty.


Photographers use a high aperture for night photography to take photos with a maximum depth-of-field. When it comes to taking pictures of the Milky Way, your aperture must be in the lowest f-stop you have available on your camera lens which is usually f/2.8 for most DSLRs. If you are having a hard time shooting photos of the Milky Way, take several shots and use Photoshop to do some touch ups on the pictures.

Shutter Speed

Remember to bring a professional tripod with you to keep your camera rock solid. Night photos are usually taken using a 30-second shutter speed. Bear in mind that 30 shutter speed is not always applicable for all night shots. If you are using a longer camera lens, the shorter shutter speed will be needed.


When taking photos at night, light is rarely present outside for your DSLR to focus properly. Autofocus systems of cameras need a certain amount of contrast to have a clear focus. One of the easiest ways to solve your problem is by finding a street light that has same distance away from you as for where your subject is. And then, autofocus on that source and switch the focus mode of your camera to manual. That will keep the focus on your subject where you last set it.


You can use the “500 Rule” to avoid star trails while taking photos of the Milky Way. The 500 rule involves dividing 500 by your camera lens’ focal length. Its result will be the longest exposure in seconds before it stars start to trail.


A high ISO is vital to have enough lighting in taking bright images of the Milky Way. An ISO 3200 is a good setting, and then you can adjust it with other camera settings. It also varies on several camera models but does not worry, just play with its settings to discover the best level for you.

Are you still having trouble capturing the amazing Milky Way? You need to have lots of patience, planning, and practice to take its photo. Once you have mastered night photography, your photos will be incredible. You can always visit photography sites that offer basic lessons about night photography. And if you are indeed serious about becoming a professional photographer, several photography classes are provided for individuals who are passionate about capturing amazing night pictures. Most importantly, enjoy the moment and have fun while taking photos of the beautiful night sky.

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