How to take pictures of the room with your phone

Smartphone cameras have come a long way since the early days. It’s now possible to take pretty good low-light photos, but what about the ultimate low-light mode: space? Astrophotography is possible if you know a few tricks.

The main limiting factor for Android and iPhone cameras when it comes to astrophotography is the size of the sensor and lens. To solve this, there are some software tricks used by camera apps. But even with these tricks, you need a few tools to get some really great space photos with a phone.

Stay steady

As we will see later, the most important element in capturing the night sky is the long exposure. This means it will take a few more seconds to take the picture. It is very important that the camera is stable during this time.

It is simply impossible to stabilize the phone with one hand: the results will be blurry. A tripod is an essential piece of equipment for astrophotography.

A small travel stand with flexible legs is perfect for attaching to objects and can easily be placed in a bag. If you don’t want to rely on nearby attachment points, use a larger tripod.

Use long exposure or night mode

Now let’s talk about the photography itself. As we mentioned, the key to capturing the night sky is long exposure. It just means that the shutter is open longer than usual. Therefore, it can capture more light, which is essential in low light conditions.

Your smartphone has the ability to take long exposure photos, but this works differently on each device. The iPhone and Google Pixel phones have “night mode” and “night vision”. Samsung Galaxy devices allow you to control the exposure in “Pro” mode.

Samsung’s method is the most advanced of the lot. You can adjust the shutter speed very precisely. The iPhone and Pixel approach is much more direct. You basically enable the mode and let the camera software do the rest. Pixel phones even switch to “Astrophotography” if they detect the night sky.

In the case of the iPhone, “night mode” is automatically activated when low light conditions are detected. If you prefer a manual approach, we like NeuralCam for iPhone. Through this application you can control the “night mode”. The app costs $4.99 and is highly rated in the App Store.

Find the best location

It’s certainly possible to capture a great shot of the night sky in your backyard or nearby park, but not all locations are created equal. Long exposure shots bring in more light, and you want the light to come from the sky, not artificial light.

The trick is to avoid “light pollution” as much as possible, which is harder than you might think. Even a city 50 km away can affect the light in your photo. Unfortunately, it is difficult to escape light pollution in most places. Dark Site Finder is a great resource for finding areas with low light pollution nearby.

Additional credit

Okay, you’ve set up your tripod and camera for the night. There are a few tricks you can use to get even better results. Telescopes are great, but they are (usually) not cameras. A smartphone holder allows you to take pictures through the telescope.

Another camera accessory that can improve your night shots is a color filter. Although they don’t look like it from Earth, objects in the night sky are very bright. Color filters can help tone down the brightness of long exposure images and reveal more detail. It’s not always easy to get great low-light shots with a smartphone camera, and space is at a premium. The hardest low light mode to take. Want to be able to compete with a real camera? Probably not, but with these tricks in mind, you can get amazing photos that are perfect for sharing.

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