Starry Night photos

By Kelly Loeffler | October 17, 2022 | Dog friendly, Minnesota, Pet Photography, Pet Photography Tips


Fall is the perfect time to get outside at night and see the stars. It’s even a great time to catch the milky way if you are lucky.

What you need to get the starry night or milky way photos you want. I am by no means an expert, but I know these can be fun to try for anyone, not just professional photographers

  • clear sky, clouds are not your friends for start photos
  • dark sky, You can look up dark skys on apps or online, but get away from big cities
  • interesting or open landscape, if you want subjects in your photos find a prairie, field or lake, if you’d just love the sky you shoot up in any dark location.
  • For ideal milky way find a place you can view open sky to the SW and that doesnt have a big city in that direction.
  • Look up moonset. You can look up moonset for each day, Sometimes youll find it it sets early and does rise until late. You want a day when moonset is early and milkyway doesnt set until ours after.
  • A tripod (although i’ll admit for half these photos I didnt have my tripod as I forgot the head at home 😛 but I was able to put my camera against a rock on the ground to keep it stable
  • The widest, fastest lens you own. I use my 16-35mm 2.8. The lower the aperture the better.

Have fun! bring out for hours at night, especially with the temperature dropping can be hard. This isn’t a quick thing, Sometimes waiting for the darkness to set can be a tedious thing. Each shot is usually 15-25 seconds. Which doesnt sound long but sitting in the cold waiting can make it feel like forever. Find someone to go with you that you enjoy hanging out with, It helps fill the voids. Maybe leave your 4 year old at home as his attention span will not last nearly as long (I may know from experience)

Settings can change based on whats in front of you but there is a formula you can work with (i’m terrible with formulas and sticking to them) lowest Aperture, ISO somewhere between 1600-3200 and shutter speed between 15-25 seconds is where I typically land. Manuel Focus on infinity is also an important note. Some lenses make that easier than others.

Once you have the fundamentals down is when you can really start having fun. You can use flash, flashlights, glow sticks, really any type of light to create art. Flash behind a subject can give a cool silhouette. Lighting your subject with a flashlight at the end of the shutter speed helps them stand out. Using light to create light paintings is also fun. I will say getting a dog (even some humans) to stand perfectly still for 15+ seconds is not an easy feet so sometimes composites are your best bet.

Practice makes perfect and planning ahead is key, get out there and have fun! And if you ever have questions or just want someone to show off what you’ve created to. Always feel free to email me at [email protected] or message me on instagram, I’m always on there!