How to shoot the cool sun stars

What is the star effect?

Starry effect is a special phenomenon of light diffraction, which is formed after the light is diffracted and scattered in the process of propagation. As far as the concept of photography is concerned, we usually try to avoid the occurrence of light diffraction, but the star effect is very cool and beautiful. Sometimes, we also deliberately pursue it, depending on the photographer’s idea.

The shape of the star effect is related to the leaf design of the aperture. Some can form a beautiful hexagonal star, while some can only form a round halo.

To form a beautiful star awn, you must have regular polygonal aperture blades. For example, for regular octagon, the more positive the shape is, the more consistent the star awn length is.

photo by William Bout

The number of stars under different mirrors is different, which is mainly related to the number of diaphragm leaves. The star number of odd leaves is the number of leaves x2; The star awn of even number of blades is still x2 theoretically, but the light will overlap, so the result is the same as the number of diaphragm blades.

photo by Filip Mroz

How can I get the Starlight Effect?

Method 1:

The simplest and rudest way is to buy a starlight lens. Starlight lens can make each bright spot in the picture produce a dazzling effect like star flash. The brighter the light spot, the more obvious the starlight effect. Point light sources such as street lamps, lamps, water surface reflections and candlelight will produce very obvious starlight effects.

The star effect is produced by etching a network of fine lines on the surface of the transparent filter. As the number of thin lines and the patterns formed by them are different, star flash with different effects will be produced. Some of them are rice shaped, and some are six star shaped or cross star shaped. Rotating the starlight mirror can also change the direction of the optical axis in the starlight pattern.

Special reminder: Starlight lens can really bring dazzling effects. If used well, it can set off the atmosphere of the picture and increase the appeal of the picture. However, do not misuse it. If it is not used well, it will be messy. If it is used too much, it will give people a sense of sameness. There is no new idea. This method is recommended to play occasionally, and it must not be used as a panacea everywhere.

Method 2:

It is easy to use a small aperture without the help of a starlight lens. The starlight size is affected by the aperture size used during shooting: the smaller the aperture, the more obvious the starlight effect; on the contrary, the smaller the star light, the shorter the lines. Generally speaking, at night, stars can be photographed when the aperture is F/8. Of course, I suggest using a smaller aperture, such as F/11~F/22.

photo by Lee Aik Soon

One thing to note is that small and strong point light sources are more likely to form dazzling stars. Such as candles, city street lamps, and reflected light from water surface can form stars.

Friendly reminder: As we all know, shooting night scenes often requires a long exposure time, and shooting star effect also needs to narrow the aperture, which means that the exposure time needs more. At this time, tripod is necessary for you! If there is no tripod, then try every way to find the right point to support the camera and avoid vibration.

How to shoot the stars of the sun?

photo by Larisa Birta

Because the sun is far from the ground and small, the light is very strong, so the stars formed are also more dazzling. However, the stronger the light is, the greater the damage to the sensitive element when the light passes through the lens. Therefore, safety measures should be improved before shooting and during light measurement. Now we will talk about how to take a good picture of the sun’s star.

1. Don’t focus on shooting stars, or you may hurt your eyes and camera

When you see stars taken by others, they are very bright, but a long time of direct sunlight may cause damage to the sensor of the camera. Even if you use a semi lens camera, a non reflective camera or a card machine to view the scene, you should also pay attention to the associated view. Although the shooting time circle is F/22, the lens will use a large aperture when shooting, and the camera will be dangerous if the sun is too strong.

Do not open the aperture too wide during shooting. It is recommended to reduce the aperture to above F/14. Do not face strong light for a long time during shooting, and solve the problem quickly. In addition, installing a UV mirror on the lens can also reduce the damage of ultraviolet rays to the camera. Therefore, theoretically speaking, the safer way is to reduce the aperture, increase the shutter speed, reduce the exposure time and try to avoid direct light.

Special reminder: Do not look at the sun with your eyes toward the viewfinder, as this will severely burn your eyes. The correct way is to use the screen to view the scene, just look at the screen.

2. Control the exposure, picture quality is very important

When the aperture is reduced, the exposure time will increase, especially when the light is relatively weak such as sunset. To ensure the picture quality, the ISO value is not easy to be too large.

Control the exposure of the picture, and the effect of overexposed pictures will not be obvious. Generally, in the daytime, the effect is obvious when the aperture is opened to F/11 starlight. If the image quality is high, try not to open the aperture to the minimum.

3. How to take photos with accurate exposure

The aperture of the lens is small, and the details in the bright part are rich, but the details in the near and dark parts are easily lost due to insufficient exposure. Therefore, when shooting, you can use flash to brighten the foreground and enrich the picture level. Especially when shooting portraits, you can use reflective panels to fill the light.

Secondly, negative exposure compensation can be added. The best way is to fix the camera to shoot separately, and then post compose.

Difference between telephoto and wide-angle

In the same environment, the effect of starlight can be controlled. If you don’t want to generate starlight, increase the aperture, increase the shutter speed, and use wide angle. If you need starlight, the opposite is true.

The awn line length of the star light mainly depends on the aperture and focal length. Both small aperture and long focus can make the awn line length of the star light longer, but the longer the focal length of the lens is, the weaker the star light effect will be. To a certain extent, even using a smaller aperture can not produce the star light effect.

As for the angle, the star effect of wide-angle photos will be more obvious, especially when shooting scenery. Many stars on the 500px are wide-angle.

In addition, there is a small skill worth trying: when shooting, it is easier to highlight the effect of stars by using stones, trees, buildings, etc. as shelter.

photo by Evgeni Dinev

Finally, many friends are concerned about the question: can mobile phones capture such effects?

For mobile phones, it is another matter. Because the aperture of the mobile phone lens is fixed, it is basically impossible to shoot beautiful stars. However, it is still possible to use an external camera lens. The key points are: small aperture, long exposure, and slow shutter APP. If it’s really not possible, you can add a starlight lens for your mobile phone… Of course, the best way is to buy a camera directly!


With enough theoretical knowledge and experience in practice, we can turn what we have learned into our own. When shooting, you should also use flexible applications, such as trying different focal sections and applying occlusion, so that the stars will be more beautiful.