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Take photos in low light or at night on your Pixel phone

When your phone is steady, you can take photos in low light or of the night sky without the flash.

Take photos in low light or at night | Pixel

Take photos in low light

  1. Open your Google Camera app Google Camera. Learn how.
  2. Tap Night Sight and then Capture .
  3. Hold still for a few seconds while your phone captures the photo.

Tip (Pixel 4a (5G) and later only): When your camera is in Default or Portrait mode and you take a photo in low-light conditions, Night Sight turns on automatically. To take your photo with Night Sight, tap Capture . To turn off Night Sight, tap Auto Night Sight . If you have your flash on, Auto Night Sight won't work.

Take photos of the night sky

For Pixel 3 and later, you can take photos of the night sky. To do so, travel away from city lights. For photos of the stars, take photos at least 45 - 90 minutes after sunset.

Important: On Pixel 4a (5G) and later, astrophotography only works on zoom settings equal to or greater than 1x.

To take a photo:

  1. Go to a dark area.
  2. Open your Google Camera app Google Camera. Learn how.
  3. Tap Night Sight.
  4. Prop your phone on a steady surface, like a rock or tripod. Don’t use your hand.
  5. Wait a few seconds. When your phone is still and ready, it shows a message that says “Astrophotography on.”
  6. Tap Capture .
  7. Do not touch your phone until it’s done taking the photo. Your phone will show a countdown timer.
  8. (Optional) To stop taking a photo, tap Stop .

Tip: On Pixel 4 and later, your phone automatically captures a timelapse of the night when you take a photo with Astrophotography. To turn off this feature:

  1. Open the Google Camera app Google Camera. Learn how.
  2. At the top, tap the Down arrow .
  3. Tap Settings  and then Advanced .
  4. Turn off Enable timelapse for astrophotography.

Improve your night sky photos

To get the best possible night sky photos, you can prepare for outdoor photography and adjust your phone’s settings.

Prepare for outdoor photography
  • Plan ahead to know when and where you can find stars and constellations. For help, download a star chart app.
  • Check the weather forecast. If the sky is cloudy, it’s harder to find the moon or stars.
  • Travel away from city lights and other artificial lights. Light pollution makes stars less visible. For help, find a light pollution map of your area.
  • Prop the phone against a steady surface, or use a tripod. Don’t touch your phone or prop it with your hand.
  • If it’s windy, move your phone closer to the ground or shield your phone from the wind. Your phone works best when it’s still.
    • Tip: To help your phone stay steady, set the self timer to 3 seconds. Your phone takes a photo 3 seconds after you tap Capture .
Adjust your phone’s settings
  • Reduce your screen’s brightness. When your screen is darker, it can help your eyes adjust to the darkness around you. Learn how to change your display settings.
  • Turn on Dark theme. Learn how to change your display settings.
  • Set the focus to “far.” Changing this setting makes your camera focus on anything more than 4 meters (13 feet) away, like the night sky. To change focus:
    1. With your Camera app open, tap Night Sight.
    2. Tap the Down arrow .
    3. Next to “Focus,” tap Far .

Adjust brightness or shadows (Pixel 4 & later)

  • Adjust brightness: On the right, adjust the slider to lower or raise Brightness .
  • Adjust shadows: On the right, adjust the slider to lower or raise Shadows .
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