Get Epic Night Sky Photos During Your Elopement or Engagement [2024 Guide]

A wedding couple kissing at night overlooking a desert canyon near Palm Springs.

Hey there! Luke here. In the world of wedding and elopement photography, couples are constantly seeking unique and breathtaking ways to immortalize their love stories. One trend that has taken the industry by storm is the incorporation of astrophotography (aka night sky photos) into engagement and elopement photos. But seriously, imagine exchanging vows under a blanket of stars or stealing a kiss under the Milky Way. In this here blog post, we’ll explore the magical world of astrophotography and how it can elevate your engagement or elopement photos to celestial heights.

1. Choose the Right Location for Your Night Sky Photos!

Astrophotography is heeeavily dependent on the absence of light pollution, so selecting the perfect location is crucial. You need to go to a really remote area where the night sky can truly come alive during your engagement or elopement. Mountains, beaches, and deserts are popular choices (Joshua Tree and Anza Borrego in California are some of my favorites), providing expansive views that allow the stars to be the focal point of your images.

Here’s a link to my favorite light pollution map: lightpollutionmap.info. You want to choose a location in a gray zone on the map for the brightest stars.

Two men holding lanterns under the stars with Split Rock Lighthouse and Lake Superior in the background.

2. Schedule Your Engagement or Elopement During a New Moon

Planning is key when it comes to incorporating astrophotography into your engagement or elopement shoot. Research the best times of the year for clear skies and minimal moonlight interference. (Sites like astrospheric.com can help with this.) A new moon phase is ideal, as it ensures a dark sky that allows the stars to shine brightly.

A wedding couple in the desert under the night sky.

3. Work with an Elopement Photographer with Astrophotography Experience

Not every photographer is experienced in capturing the magic of the night sky. Look for a professional couples photographer who has a portfolio showcasing successful nighttime shoots. Astrophotography requires a special skillset and gear like expensive lenses with wide apertures. This expertise is essential for capturing the beauty of the stars while ensuring you and your partner remain the central focus.

Shameless Self Plug: Before I started shooting elopements and engagements, my first love was astrophotography and I love incorporating it into my work when possible. If you’re interested in chatting about an out-of-this-world shoot, contact me here!

Two grooms in the water under the night sky holding lanterns.
A full moon is always magical but can limit how bright stars appear in your photos.

4. Incorporate Props and Lighting into Your Photos

Enhance the ethereal atmosphere of your engagement or elopement photos by incorporating props and lighting. Soft, warm lighting can add a romantic glow to your images. Props like lanterns, fairy lights, or battery-operated candles can also create a whimsical ambiance against the cosmic backdrop. They also help you stand out from the background!

A couple sitting next to each other in the desert under the stars.
This couple who hired me for their engagement photos brought battery-powered candles. Even a small light source can make a big impact in low light!

5. Styling for the Cosmos

Consider the attire you and your partner will wear for the shoot. Lighter, solid colors often work well against the night sky, while reflective elements or sequins can catch and amplify the available light. (Cue “Bejewled” by Taylor Swift.) Don’t forget to bring layers or a blanket to stay comfortable during cooler nighttime temperatures. You can wrap up in it together!

Incorporating astrophotography into your engagement or elopement photos adds a touch of celestial magic to your love story. From choosing the perfect location and timing to working with a skilled photographer with the right knowledge and equipment, every detail plays a role in creating images that are truly out of this world. So, set your sights high, gaze into the stars and ponder the universe, and let the cosmos become a timeless backdrop for your night sky engagement or elopement photos.

A wedding couple kissing under the milky way.

Thanks as always for reading!

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