How to photograph star trails.

Learn the tips and tricks to mastering stunning star trail photography.

Night sky photography is a tough but immensely beautiful concept. When it comes to this type of photography, most photographers, novice and expert, relish the chance to capture stunning star trail photography. But what is star trail photography e, and more importantly, how can you learn how to do it?

What is star trail photography?

Star trails, the continuous paths created by stars, are produced during long-exposure photographs. This type of photography is used to capture the apparent motion of stars in the night sky as the earth rotates — something that cannot be seen or captured by the naked eye.

A well-composed star trail photograph will show how individual stars streak across the sky and are captured using long exposure settings, typically starting at 15 minutes, and ranging to several hours. The longer the exposure, the longer the streak.

Five tips to great star trail photography.

Star trail photography isn’t as simple as pointing your DSLR at the night sky and snapping a quick photo. It requires time, practice, and the right settings to compose the perfect shot. Here are a few star trail tips every photographer should know:

  1. Gain an understanding of long exposure to better understand how this applies to night photography.
  2. Location scout to find a spot that won’t cloud your shot with light pollution.
  3. Experiment with the best settings — typically this includes long exposure (several minutes to several hours), high ISO settings, and low aperture.
  4. Invest in a reliable tripod — handheld long exposure shots almost guarantee a blurry photo.
  5. Find an intuitive editing software to bring your photo to life.

Successful star trail photography is on your horizon.

Ready to become a master of star trail photography? Explore what more you can do with Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop today.