How to photograph the Milky Way: A guide for beginners and enthusiasts

Even though you might not be able to see it with the naked eye, photographing the Milky Way isn’t as difficult as it first seems. It’s easy to find remarkable pictures online of the Milky Way glistening brightly, fronted by a forest or other landmark, and become despondent… but it is easier to capture than you might think. With a bit of planning and practice anyone with a camera – especially one of the best cameras for astrophotography – and a decent lens can capture the Milky Way. Be warned, however, that running around in the dark chasing the glowing arm of our galaxy can become addictive!

There are lots of things you can try as you get better at Milky Way shooting, but this guide will get you up and running from a standing start. There aren’t actually that many differences between shooting the Milky Way and regular astrophotography, although the timings and direction you shoot in need to be considered. If you’re just getting started and want the basics, we do have a beginners guide to astrophotography

Basic equipment for shooting the Milky Way