How To Photograph Subjects Under The Milky Way

Considering that humans can only hold still 1-2 seconds, how do we create a decent portrait of a human subject under the Milky Way while using a slow shutter speed?

  • Constant Light
    • 1/30th (standing subject)
    • 1” (sitting subject)
  • Off-Camera Flash
    • 1”-5” seconds (depending on ambient)

When using a constant light, you will be more restricted in terms of shutter speed and whether or not you can adequately freeze your subject; constant lights require faster shutter speeds for freezing the subject. With a flash, shutter speeds can be slower as the flash will only pop for a fraction of a second, effectively freezing the subject. If subjects are placed in front of a dark background, you can shoot for even longer.

In order to avoid the “ghosting” effect, create a plate shot (a photo in which you remove the movable subject from the scene) so that you can remove the ghosted artifacts during post-production.