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Capture the Stars with Astrophotography on iPhone [Video Tutorial]

4th February 2024

Jacob Woolcock

2:08

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Discover how to capture breathtaking photographs of the night sky using your iPhone’s night mode feature. Learn the secrets of long exposure photography to reveal stunning details and stars that are invisible to the naked eye. This tutorial guides you through the easy steps to achieve magical night-time shots, transforming the way you photograph the dark sky.

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Most people don’t know this, but your iPhone can actually capture photographs of the night sky, which includes stars that look absolutely beautiful. Now, it does this by taking what’s called a long exposure. So, rather than taking a photo in a split second, it will perhaps take over three, five, or maybe even 30 seconds to get more light into your camera. This means, at nighttime, you can see details that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to capture.

Now, it’s really easy to do this in the Camera app. At nighttime, you’ll see this Night Mode icon in the top left corner. It looks a bit like a circle, perhaps a bit like the moon, and when it’s yellow, your phone will automatically try and take a Night Mode picture.

Now, for this to work, your phone needs to be held really, really still, or, better still, on a tripod, but we’ll come to that in a second. If you’re holding it in your hand, you’ll see it now says it will take a 3-second exposure. And then, when the photo is finished being taken, you’ll see an image that you simply couldn’t have gotten in a normal exposure. We’ve got far more light coming in, and we can start seeing those stars in the night sky.

But, of course, the iPhone can do a longer exposure again than just 3 seconds. So, jumping back into the camera, I’m going to swipe up at the bottom of my screen to bring up the extra menu icons. And then from here, I’m going to tap onto Night Mode. At this point, I can use that little horizontal slider to choose the exact length of my exposure.

Now, if you’re holding your iPhone in your hand, even if it’s very still, you probably won’t get above about 3 seconds. But, if it’s on a tripod or if it’s propped up against something so it’s completely motionless, you should be able to go to 10 and even 30 seconds of exposure.

I’d suggest it’s probably worth tapping on the sky to make sure your phone knows where to focus when the picture’s being taken. And then, we’ll press the shutter button, and we’ll begin the exposure. The longer the exposure you have, the more light will come in, so the more stars and detail you should see in your nighttime photo.

Here, you can see at the bottom of my screen, I’ve got the timer counting down until my photograph is taken. And that photograph that’s been taken looks eerily like it’s been taken in the daytime, on a film set; it doesn’t quite look real, does it? The lighting is extraordinary. But, as you can see, the stars look beautiful in the sky.

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