Tips, Tricks Locations, & Camera Settings

A Complete Guide of How to Get Epic Astrophotography Shots

If you’re anything like me, the starry night sky holds a special place in your heart. Nothing beats seeing the full night sky for the first time, there’s nothing like it. It makes perfect sense that you want to take epic night sky shots for your adventure elopement. In this guide we’ll go over all the tips and tricks to getting unreal star photos!

As your Adventure Elopement Photographer, I’m on your team at day one. Through support, timelines, creativity with posing, and capturing all the grand and intimate details of your day I’ll help you plan the most unforgettable wedding day that feels like you, and document your adventure in a way that feels like art.

Time Of Month

The first step to planning an astrophotography event is to keep an eye on the moon cycle. You want to be out on a new moon or within a day or two of a new moon. This means that there will be no moon in the sky, making the stars brighter and easier for your photographer to take long exposure photos of the sky. You can track new moons here.

You also want to aim for the warmer months. The sky tends to show more stars and it will be warm once the sun goes down. Typically you can get great star photos starting at 11pm.


To get the most out of the night sky, you will want to find a location that is a part of the International Dark Sky. These are places where National Parks, towns and communities are committed to lowering their light pollution solely to have a beautiful night sky. Most of the locations are in the SouthWest of the United States but you can look up locations here.

What To Bring

When taking star photos, especially for your elopement, be prepared to be out for a while. Bring a backpack of water, snacks, and whatever else you might want being outside for a bit. Here’s a list of other items you might want to bring along:

-A speaker to play music & dance under the stars

-Lanterns: They add a really cool effect to photos and it’s nice to have some light

-Flashlights/ headlamps

-Tripod and camera

-A light box for lighting the subjects

Camera Settings

For astrophotography you’re going to want a very slow shutter speed, medium aperture and high ISO. Keep your iso between 1000-2000. Keep your aperture between 2.8-6. If you are using lanterns you may want to up your aperture to get the light rays from the lantern rathe than a big blur of light. For shutter speed I like to lower mine more than what others suggest. I range my shutter anywhere between 15 seconds and 6 seconds. The longer the shutter, the brighter the image will be and the more stars it will capture.

Tips & Tricks

-Shoot in manual focus so that you can focus in the dark. If you are using the lanterns it will help with autofocus. If you want to light your subjects, use a light box on your subject as you press your shutter down, then quickly turn off the light box. This will light your subjects without over exposing the rest of your image.

-Make sure you keep your subjects extremely still

-Shoot multiple shutter speeds many times. The photo may look awesome in camera but once you pull it into Lightroom to edit, sometimes its blurrier than you thought so just take multiple photos of the same pose!

-Use a very sturdy tripod

-Mess around with light! Between lanterns, light boxes or no light, theres so much creativity with astrophotography. Take your time and play with all kinds of light!


Be prepared when you head into the outdoors at night! Not only can it be dangerous to hike in the dark but there are also a lot of animals and bugs that come out at night. At my last astrophotography session, we actually ran into some scorpions! Be careful about where you stand and hike. Be sure to bring bear spray, first aid kit, and other emergency things if needed. Many times the spots you will be shooting at will have spotty service. Make sure your photographer knows the area and will help with directions.

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Adventure wedding & elopement photographer for couples who want epic

Hey, I'm Sammie! I’m an adventurer at heart, with a passion for storytelling. You can usually find me with my couples, hiking cliffside in Zion National Park, chasing sunsets in Moab, or exploring other wild destinations around the Southwest.

I prioritize intentional moments filled with love and capture both grand & intimate photos. I'll help you plan the most unforgettable wedding day that feels like you, and document your adventure in a way that feels like art.

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You won't find the best locations online. You need a local expert & photographer who has spent time exploring the area and scouting these locations in person. We share our exclusive location guide only with our booked clients!

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Adventures that feels like you, and documented in a way that feels like art.

I'm an adventurer at heart, with a passion for storytelling.

I prioritize intentional moments filled with love and capture both grand & intimate photos

I help craft unique adventures in places that feel as epic as your story