GoPro Tips

How to Use GoPro Night Photography to Capture the Rare Five-Planet Alignment

Jun 23, 2022


It’s time to take a break from late night binging and tune into Mother Nature. For the first time in 18 years, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn will be aligned from June 17 to June 27. Not only are the aligned, but they are visible with the naked eye—and, according to National Geographic the planets will shine bright enough to be visible even in light-polluted cities. There is really no excuse not to bust out your camera and dial in your night photography skills on GoPro. 

The following are a few tips on how to use GoPro for night photography to help capture the planetary phenomenon.

  1. On HERO10 Black, decide whether to use Night Photo or Night Lapse Photo mode.
  2. Dial in your settings depending on what your desired outcome is and the amount of available light. You’ll want to focus most closely on your Night Shutter settings, which control the shutter speed and therefore the amount of light let into a given shot.
  3. GoPro night photography will always turn out best if the camera is stationary. We recommend either the Shorty or the new Volta tripod mounts.

When to Use GoPro Night Photo vs. GoPro Night Lapse Photo Modes

Night Photo is best for capturing long exposures as a singular still photo.

Night Lapse Photo is best for capturing a series of long exposures, from which you can either pull a single still image or turn it into a dynamic video.

Two additional factors to note when using Night Lapse Photo are:

  1. Night Shutter/Exposure Settings: You can set Night Shutter Auto or choose a specific interval with a set exposure time—allowing for you to capture daytime (lots of light) to nighttime (less light) transitions in a single capture.
  2. Format: Night Lapse can be output either as a series of photos or a singular video file. This can be controlled under the Format Protune setting.

In general, we recommend choosing based on what your desired outcome is. If you’re looking for one stunning galaxy still photo, go with Night Photo. If you’re looking to capture traffic at night or create a start trail photo by stacking images in a post-production editing tool, choose GoPro Night Lapse Photo.

PRO TIP: Night Photo differs from regular Photo mode by allowing users to select a shutter length up to 30 seconds. This is the GoPro equivalent of setting up a long exposure shot. Whereas Photo mode is optimized for faster captures.

Recommended GoPro Night Photography + GoPro Night Lapse Settings:

Planetary alignment:

  • Interval: Auto
  • Night Shutter: Auto
  • White Balance: Auto
  • Min ISO: 100
  • Max ISO: 800
  • Sharpness: Low
  • Color: Natural

*Relying on Auto for Interval, Night Shutter and White Balance settings will help your content seamlessly adapt to changes in available light.

Traffic at night:

Night Shutter: Auto

White Balance: Native

Min ISO: 100

Max ISO: 100

Sharpness: Low

Color: Natural

Stars and Star Trails:

Night Shutter: 30 sec

White Balance: Native

Min ISO: 800

Max ISO: 1600

Sharpness: Low

Color: Natural

PRO TIP: Night Shutter, a.k.a. shutter speed, controls how long your shutter stays open, impacting the amount of light the shutter captures. Choose a shorter shutter speed (2 sec to 10 sec) if there is more available light. Choose a longer shutter speed (30 sec) if there is less available light.

You can read more about the planetary alignment at National Geographic. And you can learn more about frames rates and GoPro night photography modes on HERO10 Black here.


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