7 ways of photographing a star trail at home

How to photograph star trails
A strong foreground subject really helps a star trail composition. (Image credit: Jamie Carter)

It's one of the most visually arresting images in all of astrophotography and it’s one that can be created quite easily in your backyard – whatever your level of light pollution – but the star trail has been a challenging shot until recently. However, advances in cameras, sensors and software has made it not only a relatively easy shot, but one that you can take using a whole host of different devices and approaches.

The classic star trail photo is of circles in the sky that show the movement of stars in the night sky and, consequently, the rotation of our planet. It’s usually achieved by pointing the camera toward either the south pole or the north pole, but there are a lot of choices to make before you start shooting.

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Jamie Carter
Astrophotography expert

Jamie has been writing about all aspects of technology for over 14 years, producing content for sites like TechRadar, T3, Forbes, Mashable, MSN, South China Morning Post, and BBC Wildlife, BBC Focus and BBC Sky At Night magazines. 

As the editor for www.WhenIsTheNextEclipse.com, he has a wealth of enthusiasm and expertise for all things astrophotography, from capturing the Perseid Meteor Shower, lunar eclipses and ring of fire eclipses, photographing the moon and blood moon and more.

He also brings a great deal of knowledge on action cameras, 360 cameras, AI cameras, camera backpacks, telescopes, gimbals, tripods and all manner of photography equipment.