If you’re a fellow stargazer and want to try astrophotography on your iPhone, I’m here to help you out. Capturing the moon, stars, and planets is more challenging than other kinds of photography. This is due to the distance they are from the earth and low light conditions at nighttime.
However, with the right apps and equipment, you can try your hand at it and grab some pretty cool shots of the night sky. They might be a far cry from what’s possible with a professional camera, but they’re still worth admiring.
Which are the best iPhones for astrophotography?
If you’re wondering what’s the best iPhone for astrophotography, obviously, the newer, the better. The iPhone 12 and 11 series boast advanced cameras that give you more control over the settings to achieve better images.
Moreover, the Night Mode camera in these devices makes it easy to capture the sky. However, you can also try your hand with an iPhone X and earlier, though the results might not be as good due to the lack of the night mode feature.
What do you need for iPhone astrophotography?
There are a few different ways to shoot the night sky with an iPhone, and you’ll need some different equipment for each method, as listed below.
- Method 1 – iPhone + tripod + Bluetooth remote
- Method 2 – iPhone + telescope
- Method 3 – iPhone + binoculars or monocular
Note: You can use specialized iPhone astrophotography apps in all the methods to further enhance your clicks.
Method 1 – Astrophotography using your iPhone and a tripod
This is a straightforward and inexpensive method, but it doesn’t yield the best results. However, it’s perfect for beginners. All you need is a mobile tripod and a Bluetooth remote to trigger the camera shutter.
This is because when you manually trigger the shutter on your camera by touching your phone, it shakes the device and reduces the quality of the image. To ensure your phone stays absolutely steady, you need to put it on a tripod and use a remote to trigger the camera.
Try this product: UBeesize TR50 Tripod with Bluetooth Remote
UBeesize’s TR50 tripod is stable, compact, lightweight, and ideal for long exposure or time-lapse photography. The bonus Bluetooth button is an added advantage of buying this tripod.
- 3-way pan head with level bubble
- Adjustable height (flip-lock included)
- Faux leather built
- 360° panorama shooting
- Super light in weight (2.2 pounds)
How to shoot:
- Mount your phone securely onto the tripod and connect the remote via Bluetooth settings on your device.
- Launch the astrophotography app of your choice and compose your photo by pointing your phone towards what you want to capture in the sky.
- Take the photo by using the Bluetooth remote.
As mentioned above, this is a pretty rudimentary method of astrophotography with iPhone, but the tripod makes a world of difference to keep your camera steady and focussed.
Method 2 – Astrophotography using your iPhone and telescope
If you want to step it up a notch and get more detailed photographs of the moon and other celestial objects, buying a telescope for iPhone can be a worthy investment. In addition to letting you observe the sky, they come with phone mounts that can help you capture images of what you see.
Try this product: Gskyer telescope
Explore the skies while protecting your eyes with this Gskyer’s iPhone telescope. It’s easy to use, making it ideal for both adults and kids. Although a bit expensive, the telescope comes with a 2-year warranty and features a wireless remote. So worth your investment!
- Aperture: 70mm
- Focal length: 400mm (f/5.7)
- Zenith mirrors: 48°Erecting BAK4 prism
How to shoot:
- Set up your telescope according to the instructions manual it comes with, and attach your iPhone to the mount.
- Open an astrophotography app of your choice, find the object you want to shoot, and compose your frame.
- Tap the shutter button or use a Bluetooth remote to capture photos.
A telescope is a bit of an investment, but if you’re passionate about stargazing, it can be a worthy purchase. Plus, it will yield much better night sky photos than your iPhone camera on its own.
How to shoot:
- Attach the telephoto lens to your iPhone according to the instructions it comes with. Use a tripod for additional stability.
- Open the night photography app of your choice and point your camera to what you want to capture.
- Adjust the lens as needed and frame your shot.
- Take the picture by tapping the shutter button. Use a Bluetooth remote for stability and better photos.
Method 3 – Astrophotography using iPhone and binoculars or monocular
Yet another option for iPhone astrophotography is using a pair of binoculars or a monocular. These work in the same way as a telescope but won’t give you as many details of celestial objects. Moreover, it’s challenging to hold them steady when taking your shots. However, they are easier to carry around, hence, more convenient.
Try this product: Gosky Binoculars
View far-off objects with ease thanks to the 10X power magnification and large field of view of these binoculars, specially designed for outdoor activities.
- Material: FMC Lens+Durable Body+Rubber Ammor
- Prism: Porro
- Focus type: Center focus
- Field of view: 307ft/1000yds
How to shoot:
- Attach your iPhone to the binoculars or monocular according to its instruction manual.
- Use a night photography app of your choice and compose your frame.
- Take the shot. Use a Bluetooth shutter release for better stability.
Frequently asked questions
If you have an iPhone 11 or 12 series device, you can use the Night Mode camera feature to capture the stars and achieve impressive low-light photographs. However, it will work even better when you use it with an astrophotography app.
Yes, it can, but the results will not be at par with photos taken by professional cameras. However, the shots can still be quite impressive, especially when taken with the right apps and equipment.
On iPhone 11 and 12 series, use the Night mode. Avoid using flash, HDR, and the digital zoom on your camera, and use an astrophotography app such as NightCap.
The most effective way to shoot photos of the stars with an iPhone is to use a telescope along with a night photography app.
Ready to reach for the stars with these iPhone astrophotography ways?
I believe that even the best photos of the night sky cannot do justice to its beauty, but I hope this guide for iPhone astrophotography has helped you take some fantastic shots of the moon and stars.
Which method did you go for, and what did you shoot? Let me know in the comments below. You can also further enhance your images with the best photo editing apps.