How to capture dark skies on camera

Night time photography

If you want to learn how to capture the sparkling stars and planets but are not sure where to begin, here's our guide on how to get started.

Night-time photography, also known as astrophotography or nightscapes is becoming a fast-growing passion for many professional and amateur photographers who want to share the incredible beauty of what they capture with their cameras. 

Let us help you by sharing some tips from the photographers who have provided the stunning photos on this website they'll share with what gear you need, exposures to experiment with, how to have fun with light paint and why Dorset is the best location to choose for some fantastic results.

Whatever location you choose to start, whether it's in the garden of your Dorset holiday cottage or an open access beauty spot in Dorset, please always make sure you are going to stay warm, hydrated and that you can contact people should any unforeseen problems arise. 

What equipment do you need?  

  • DSLR or a mirrorless camera with a manual focus option.  

  • A tripod.  

  • A shutter remote control or a shutter release cable, this will minimise camera shake.  

  • A lens with an aperture of f/2.8 or lower or low f stop.  

  • A torch or head light.  

  • Warm clothing, snacks and a drink.  

  • Patience and persistence.  


  • To capture the stars in your images you must be careful to avoid including the moon, as this will allow too much light into the photo. The best time to capture the stars is four days before or after a new moon, when the moon is at its darkest.  

  • For night photography make sure to switch the image format on your camera to RAW, this format allows a lot more tones into your image. But be aware these are larger file sizes than usual formats such as a JPEG.  

  • Set your white balance to daylight or auto.  

  • Experiment with your camera. All conditions and cameras will be different, so you will need to adjust the settings and see what works best for you. 

If you’re lucky enough to live or are staying somewhere dark, then why not begin with trying some astrophotography in the garden! See what you can create. 

How and where?Astrophotographer's tips

View All

You may also like...

Jurassic Coast

Explore the Dorset Jurassic Coast, ideas of where to stay and things to see and do.


There is mile upon mile of beautiful countryside in Dorset just waiting to be explored.

Winter Breaks

Winter is a fantastic time to explore Dorset so don't delay and book your winter getaway now.

What does your Dorset look like? Adventures on our epic coastline? Visiting attractions with family? A walk through the beautiful countryside? Or perhaps a chilled out evening eating and drinking with friends? Discover a sample of your #VisitDorset images below and share your love for Dorset using the hashtag on Instagram.