But that certainly doesn’t mean you can’t take good photos of the stars or night sky with your phone. In fact, with a basic understanding of exposure and aperture controls, you can master astrophotography, plus learn the basics that you can also use in the future when shooting with a DSLR.

What you can expect from a night sky photo taken with a mobile phone

You can rest assured that the quality of night sky photos taken with a smartphone or mobile phone camera will not be as good as with high-end DSLR cameras. However, your night sky photos will be good enough to share on Instagram, Facebook and other social media platforms.

What you’ll need to take photos of the stars in the night sky

The night sky is best photographed with a low shutter speed. This requires you to hold your camera still for a longer period of time than normal photography. That’s why you need to have a tripod or a makeshift pad that allows you to shoot the night sky using your phone’s rear camera.

One of the most important things is that the photographer is in a dark place (no, the balcony of your city apartment won’t work). So go to a place where the sky is clear and your photos won’t be interfered by any light source near you.

Without a tripod or a sturdy mobile phone mount, photos of the night sky can be blurry

The third and most important thing is to download a few camera apps on your iPhone or Android phone. While some phones come with a professional mode for manual control, third-party professional camera apps will give you the same or even better control over your phone. The best professional photography apps are Camera FV-5, Candy Camera, and ProCamera.

How to take pictures of the stars with your mobile phone

Assuming you’ve downloaded the recommended app, launch it and go into professional mode. Then point your smartphone camera at the stars. Avoid shooting the night sky with the moon in the frame, its light will throw off your light balance and make your photos starless.

Now for the technical part: switch to manual focus and tap the area you want to focus on. Set the exposure time to eight seconds, ten seconds, or more if your phone allows it. With a longer exposure time, your camera will capture more light, but make sure your photos aren’t washed out. Change the ISO levels to 400-800, depending on the amount of light you want to capture. Now tap the shutter button. Wait for the image to process. Be sure not to shake your phone or the mat underneath it while processing the image. When taking pictures of the night sky, it is more practical to use the shutter timer or remote shutter release from your watch, for example.

A night sky photo taken at high ISO. This makes digital noise and colour defects already visible in the photo.