How to shoot nightscapes: camera gear and exposure settings

a night sky landscape
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Experienced nightscape photographers seek out ultra-dark places away from civilization and only work under moonless skies. However, there is no need to wait for such a privileged situation to get started. For now, your back garden will do nicely, as the two most important things you need to learn are the camera settings required and how to operate your camera in total darkness.

Nightscape photography is the art of collecting limited light, and while having the best low-light cameras can help when shooting at night, they won't guarantee good results. Like any photography, that will come from balancing aperture (how much light reaches the image sensor), ISO (the light sensitivity of the imaging sensor) and shutter speed (how long the image sensor is exposed to light).

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Lauren Scott
Freelance contributor/former Managing Editor

Lauren is a writer, reviewer, and photographer with ten years of experience in the camera industry. She's the former Managing Editor of Digital Camera World, and previously served as Editor of Digital Photographer magazine, Technique editor for PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine, and Deputy Editor of our sister publication, Digital Camera Magazine. An experienced journalist and freelance photographer, Lauren also has bylines at Tech Radar,, Canon Europe, PCGamesN, T3, Stuff, and British Airways' in-flight magazine (among others). When she's not testing gear for DCW, she's probably in the kitchen testing yet another new curry recipe or walking in the Cotswolds with her Flat-coated Retriever.