Applications for Milky Way photography make life a whole lot easier. They help you find the perfect weather, location, stars, and time for stunning photos of the Milky Way.
We recommend downloading the following apps. We use iOS devices, but we’ve found the same or similar apps for Android and Windows phones.
This image was taken from our Milky Way Mastery course. Check it out to learn how to shoot stunning photos of the Milky Way!
Best Apps For Photographing the Milky Way
Dark Sky Finder
Light pollution is a major problem for Milky Way photography. This app will help you find the darkest skies near you. Users also add their favourite sites to the maps, as well as notes on what makes it such a great place to see the stars.
Dark Sky Finder makes sure you’re never bothered by light pollution while finding the Milky Way.
Weather – The Weather Channel
There are countless different weather apps available, so why choose this one?
In our experience, this is the most accurate one on the market. When it says it’s going to rain in 20 minutes, it rains in 20 minutes. This makes it one of our go-to planning apps.
If you plan on using it for other photography, you can actually set up custom notifications based on the weather. For example, if you’re into landscape photography, you might want to capture great post-rain landscape photos. You can set this app to notify you after it’s rained.
It’s only available for iOS and Android, but we have included an alternative for Windows phones as well.
Deluxe Moon Pro
This is our favourite moon application because it gives you a visual representation of how much light the moon will be reflecting in the night sky. We aim to shoot during the new moon or full moon, so we must know exactly when this is.
It also shares information about the time when the moon will be visible in the sky. This way you can time your shoot exactly at moonrise or moonset if you want to.
Sol: Sun Clock
This very pretty app will tell you the exact phases of light that you pass through during any day, based on your location.
It shows everything from daylight and golden hour to full darkness and astronomical dusk. It also tells you the exact time of sunrise and sunset.
From our experience, it’s 100% accurate and essential for planning Milky Way photography.
TPE – The Photographer’s Ephemeris
This is a web and mobile application that will help you visualise how your milky way picture will look in a particular location. You can see how light falls on your spot, during both day and night, by using the sun and moon location calculator.
For example, if you want to photograph the blue boat house in Perth, WA, you can see where and when the sun will rise on a specific day. You can also check the sunset, moonrise, etc.
The Photographer’s Ephemeris includes an iOS and Android version; however, you must pay for it.
This is the app we use for identifying stars in the sky, such as Polaris (The North Star).
You can quickly identify and locate stars, planets, constellations and more. By simply pointing to the sky, the device will rotate and tell you what you’re looking at.
It’s really handy to know what you’re taking photos of instead of finding the stars through your naked eye. It also makes you feel much more in touch with the night sky above.
This application has a free (Lite) and a paid version as well.
This reviewer says it better than I can:
“If you are into astrophotography, this is a must-have. You can visualise and frame your shot to perfection with Photopills. There are so many other features that are useful too. For example, if you have a manual lens like the Rokinon 14mm f2.8, you can use the calculator to calculate the right shutter speed for the set aperture and ISO values.”
It also rotates as you turn with your phone, showing you the sun’s exact path and current position on the sky.
This app is also available in a Lite and paid version.
Your Free Video Course: The Milky Way Mini-Series
These apps will aid you in capturing great photos of the Milky Way. But we wanted to go one step further.
We’ve put together free videos on Milky Way photography. Our goal is to help you understand how to capture those breathtaking milky way shots in no time at all.
To dive deeper, check out our Milky Way Mastery course.
Milky Way photography can be difficult to master. However, you don’t need expensive gear to photograph the milky way.
These applications will help bring the most out of your night sky shots!
We also have a great post on photo editing apps you should check out too!