10 tips for taking the best pictures of the sky and stars on your mobile

10 tips for taking the best pictures of the sky and stars on your mobile

A night sky filled with stars, or bathing in the moonlight, is an almost inevitable call to perpetuate that moment in a beautiful photo. But, due to lack of professional equipment, many people are frustrated in trying to get a good result from a cell phone camera. Usually, photos of the sky come in dark or dim, and the beautiful moon looks like a street lamp. The good news is that by understanding some of the basic settings of your device, you can get better results Astronomical photography Made by cell phone.

In general, astronomy sees the universe by capturing light emitted or reflected by space, in this sense, Astronomical photography Plays a similar role. Of course, both functions basically rely on light to create their images. Thanks to technology, even with simple cell phones, you can take pictures of the stars or the moon in the afternoon sky — of course, until the device meets some basic requirements.

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With that in mind, in this article you will find 10 tips to start a journey into the astronomical universe with your cell phone camera – or create an amateur record with high quality.

10 tips to capture the sky and stars on your cell phone

Do not get tired

First of all, since we are not professional photographers, we have to put aside the idea that the sky cannot be seen well. With a cell phone in hand, anyone can take a picture, but the most important thing is to take the first step: point the camera and take the risk.

The brightest glow is the planet Venus in the afternoon. Below is the star Regulus – the brightest in the constellation Leo – followed by the smallest, which is Mars

No one is starting to know everything; However, by following good tips and practicing with low frequency, you will definitely get good results in the long run – before that, you will learn a lot about the art of songwriting with the light of heaven.

Enter astrophotography

Astronomical photography is nothing more than the art of photography, which creates images with the light of the sky in the night sky – or the moon, even during the day. Therefore, it is important to understand the relationship between camera and light.

The “spot” in the center image was actually recorded by a cell phone, the brightest part of the Milky Way in the night sky. Highlighted Saturn (Image: Reproduction / Willian Torres)

Fortunately, technology makes possible different types of astronomical photographs – such as stars, galaxies or the solar system, Jupiter and its moons. So, a little more understanding of the concept of this specialty of photography will help us to understand our tastes and its many techniques – as well as find some inspiration.

Know your equipment

If you want to take photos with light, it is important to know what tools and settings are in your cell phone’s camera. For example, when the device does not provide a long exposure time, it cannot capture the amount of light needed to create an astrophoto. Before attempting a recording, explore your device’s manual camera settings.

First attempts are not good, so test your device with simple tests (Image: Playback / Willian Torres)

An alternative for those who do not have a device with basic settings is to download some An application that provides ISO options, Exposure time and focus – these are adjustments that guarantee a good result or not.

Use a Moto manual

The cell phone camera can have two configurations: automatic and manual. The automatic only works well in well-lit environments or in specific environments, for example, the afternoon sunset, because there is a lot of light in the environment so it is easy for the camera to catch it. But it doesn’t always work.

Manual mode allows the camera to capture distant starlight, for example, by increasing the exposure time (Image: Playback / Willian Towers)

Here, manual mode comes into play, because from there the basic settings of the cell phone’s camera, such as access time, are the basic area for astronomical photography – especially on dark nights with stars. The sky.

Adjust the exposure time

Imagine a camera that captures ambient light and works like our eyes, but, unlike our organs, it receives the required amount of light because it is set to remain open for a long time (a few seconds). Exposure time is the exposure time of the cell phone’s camera to receive external light.

Note that the camera captures more brightness as the exposure time is longer (Image: Playback / Willian Torres)

Is two seconds of exposure enough? It depends on your photographic focus. For example, on a full moon night, two seconds is actually too long because with too much moonlight, the camera captures a reasonable amount in a short period of time.

But if the target stars, two seconds is a very short time, because their brightness is much lower than the moon or any other artificial light nearby. So the camera needs more time to get enough light to record the stars.

Keep your device stable

For a good result it is very important to keep it steady when the camera is in the light. Any blur compromises the quality of the image and the lights will come out as dim as stripes. Therefore, the stability of the device is essential. A tripod is perfect for this, but in the absence of one, use your imagination to find a way to keep your phone intact when clicked.

On the left, there was a flash of light and the camera could not focus on the stars because the device was not static, unlike the image on the right (Image: Playback / Willian Torres)

To further confirm image stability, it is recommended to use a self-timer — that clock that appears between camera settings. When the device is not positioned correctly, even the slightest movement, such as a finger touch on the “tap” screen on the photo, can shake the first few milliseconds of exposure.

Avoid light pollution

Light pollution is pollution caused by excess artificial light. In addition to interfering with ecosystems – for example, insects confuse artificial lighting with the moon – excessive artificial lighting reaches the atmosphere, glowing above cities and large centers.

A plane flying through the sky during filming pollutes the landscape and distracts the stars (Image: Playback / Willian Torres)

When trying to record a photo of the night sky, you need to consider the bright spots built into the camera. The light produced by houses and streets is much larger than the light coming from the stars, so stay away from artificial lighting in search of dark places. In this way, light pollution reduces the brightness of the stars. In short; If it is dark, it is better to photograph the sky and the stars.

The sky is visible

As the earth orbits the sun, the night changes throughout the year. For example, to try to record the brightest part of the Milky Way, winter nights are best suited for this, because part of this sky will appear above our heads at dusk. Or photograph Venus, which sometimes appears at sunset and sometimes before dawn.

Knowledge of the sky allows you to design many celestial objects in the image. Of these, there are many such as the Orion constellation, where we observe the three Marys and the Orion Nebula (Image: Reproduction / Willian Torres)

Knowledge of the movements of the stars and constellations leads the camera towards a more precise aim, ensuring better compositions. Despite the fact that the full moon sighs and raises the desire to photograph her, cell phone astronomy photography is not the best model. On the other hand, when it changes position and its brightness decreases, its recording becomes more favorable.

The help of good can be trusted Applications showing star positions And which objects in the sky are in any place according to their location.

Edit photo

Editing is a good friend to photography and there is no “cake recipe” for well-developed photography. But, with the cell phone, you can make some changes in the photo to further highlight the brightness of the stars or the moon. Editing is important as it is part of the composition and ending of the photo and is important to be creative depending on the taste (or art concept) of the author.

Before and after editing (Image: Reproduction / Willian Torres)

In general, the cell phone has a very basic image editing tool – but if it fails, there are good ones Edit options Photos by cell phone. Controlling the contrast and brightness of the photo is the most important thing. Increasing the contrast helps to isolate the darker parts of the sky, while reducing the exposure reduces the brightness of the glowing surfaces in the photo.


Even after these tips, if there is still some fear of playing “astrophotography” with the cell phone, remember: no one is born knowingly, but practically anyone can go there. Not only does it improve our understanding of how the camera captures light, but celestial photography training teaches us a lot about stars and stars.

The connection between the sun and the moon was recorded just before sunrise (Image: Reproduction / Willian Torres)

For those who want to think about the universe, astronomical photography is the happy journey of knowledge – technology or a particular area of ​​astronomy. Otherwise, do not ask so much! Every night or evening, try a new recording in your camera’s manual mode. Dare to explore settings and create astrophotos.

If “I am a way of knowing the universe itself”, as I said Carl Sagan, There is nothing happier than making a moment of heaven eternal in a photo!

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