Photographing Galaxies By: Jacqueline Bayly

Although it is far away and hard to see, it is possible to take photographs of galaxies like the Milky Way for example with a DSLR camera.

From “How to Photograph the Milky Way” by Matt Quinn


First, you’re going to want a clear sky for your photos. Also, consider how close you are to cities and their light pollution. Light pollution maps can help you decide where to set up.

14mm, f/2.8, 30s, ISO3200

Camera Settings:

  • ISO: A 3200-6400 ISO is ideal for absorbing enough light while also keeping the photo from becoming blurry.
  • Shutter Speed: A long shutter speed is necessary to capture the light in a galaxy, but too long of a shutter speed will make the stars streak because the earth is rotating. 30 seconds is a frequently used SS for these photos.
  • Aperture: You want the lens to be as open as possible, so the correct aperture is the lowest setting.


Photographer Jim Harmer explains how he took his galaxy photo “Milky Way in Idaho.”


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