Yes, you can take presentable astronomy photos on phone camera

Oct 23, 2021, 6:30 AM
(Unsplash Photo)...
(Unsplash Photo)
(Unsplash Photo)

Q: Is it possible to get a decent picture using my smartphone for astrophotography?

A: While serious astrophotography requires a pile of expensive DSLR camera equipment, you can actually get decent images from your smartphone with a little work.

A couple of keys to capturing the night sky are focus and keeping the phone still as the shutter will need to be open for an extended period of time.

Get to know your camera settings

The only way to approach this type of photography is to learn how to use the manual settings on your smartphone’s camera app.

You’ll want to learn how to set the focus to infinity, increase the sensitivity to light (ISO), extend the exposure time and set a delay timer to take the shot.

If there’s a RAW option, you’ll want to turn it on so you have more to work with after you take the shot.

In some cases, such as newer Google Pixel smartphones, there may actually be an astrophotography setting already built into the camera app, usually in the low lighting or night sight mode.

Learning what your smartphone’s camera app can and can’t do will determine whether you’ll need to download a special app to capture the night sky.

Keep the camera still

A critical accessory for capturing the stars is a tripod since any movement of the camera will ruin the shot.

In addition to having the smartphone in a tripod, you’ll want to start the shot with either an external trigger such as wired headphones or use the delay timer to ensure the camera is perfectly still when it takes the shot.

Low light camera apps

If your smartphone’s built-in camera app lacks the features or settings to get a decent shot, there are a host of specialized apps you can download to improve your chances.

The NightCap Camera app for iPhone is a $3 app that provides manual controls along with dedicated astronomy modes for all types of low-light photography.

The ProCam X app for Android is a $5 app that will provide a plethora of manual controls if your stock camera app is lacking.

Photo editors

Although your picture may appear to be nothing but a black square on your phone’s screen, the stars you’re looking for can often be teased out with an editing app.

The best way to edit the images would be with an image-editing program on a computer since the screen is larger and the controls tend to be more refined.

Playing with the zoom and the various exposure and highlight levels on mobile editing apps such as Snapseed or Adobe Lightroom should allow you to bring out the celestial features right on your phone.


Instead of just pointing your camera straight up, try including items like buildings, trees or a distant horizon to make your images more interesting, especially if you doing long exposure shots.

Longer exposure times can also lead to star trails, which you may or may not want so it’s another area to explore.

There is a lot of trial and error to get through if you really want to get incredible night sky images, so make sure you’re willing to spend the time necessary to make it happen.

Data Doctors

(Pixabay Photo)...
Data Doctors

When shopping for a Wi-Fi router, here’s what to consider

When shopping for a new Wi-Fi router, here are a few things to consider and look for.
1 day ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Ken Colburn, Data Doctors

How to maximize accuracy, experience with dropped pins on Google Maps

Here are a few tips for maximizing your experience and accuracy with dropped pins on Google Maps in any part of the world.
8 days ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Ken Colburn, Data Doctors

Here are tips for switching your email from Cox to Gmail

If you're a user interested in switching your email from Cox to Gmail, here are a few tips to make the conversion easy and organized.
15 days ago
(Pixabay Photo)...
Ken Colburn, Data Doctors

What you need to know about the upcoming 3G shutdown

It’s hard to remember what a game changer 3G was when it first rolled out in the early 2000s, but all of the major carriers plan on shutting down those networks in 2022.
22 days ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Ken Colburn, Data Doctors

Comparing private search engines and understanding its benefits

Google’s search engine is considered the most powerful but the trade-off is that you give up privacy through their expansive tracking technologies. If you want to avoid the tracking but still get excellent search results, a private search engine does just that.
29 days ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Data Doctors

The Log4j threat: What everyone should do

In what is considered one of the most widespread and dangerous vulnerabilities to be discovered in a very long time, the Log4j problem is going to be a threat that will likely linger for a long time -- here's what you can do.
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

HVAC upkeep in Arizona saves money, keeps families prepared in the long run

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.
Canvas Annuity

Annuity basics: how to retire with a guaranteed paycheck for life

Does the thought of retirement fill you with stress or with happiness? Everyone wants to spend their retirement in a way that brings them the most joy, whether that’s traveling the world or spending extra time at home with grandkids.

What you need to know about spine health

With 540 million people suffering from lower back pain, it remains the leading cause of long-term disability. That’s why World Spine Day on Oct. 16 will raise awareness about spinal health with its theme, BACK2BACK. “BACK2BACK will focus on highlighting ways in which people can help their spines by staying mobile, avoiding physical inactivity, not overloading […]
Yes, you can take presentable astronomy photos on phone camera