December 2020 // The How-to Edition

How to Take a Milky Way Portrait | Rey Benasfre


A shot like this is meant to be epic. Just like any Milky Way image, you want to show as much of the sky as possible with enough landscape elements to make it interesting. Compose your landscape shot first and then decide where to place your subject. Do you want them closer to the camera or far away? Your subject has to compete with the majestic beauty of the Milky Way galaxy! To draw your viewer’s eye toward your subject, look for elements in the landscape that will lead to them—maybe the leading lines of the street or the framing of a natural rock arch. You can even find ways to use the Milky Way itself as a compositional element to highlight your subject. Remember, when setting up, take your test shots first and then adjust. When you’ve decided where to place your subjects go ahead and have them stand in frame wherever you need. I usually shine a flashlight to the spot I want them to stand on. Once they’re there I use the flashlight to light the scene and double-check how everything looks on my viewfinder before taking the shot. Now we’re ready to direct our subject in order to get the most out of this type of image.

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