How to use Astrophoto mode on a Samsung Galaxy phone

Taking an Astrophoto on a Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra with sky guide enabled
(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

Among the many new camera features added to the Galaxy S22 family is the new Astrophoto mode which can turn the dark night sky into a brilliant canvas of stars. All you'll need is your phone, the Samsung Expert RAW app, and a tripod.

Since the launch of those phones, Samsung has expanded the feature to the Galaxy S23 series with the One UI 5.1 update and is expected to further expand it to many of the best Samsung phones in the future.

Just to be clear, Astrophoto is different from the moon photos that can be taken with the Galaxy S22 Ultra or Galaxy S23 Ultra.

How to enable Astrophoto mode on a Samsung Galaxy phone

To get started with Astrophotography, you'll first need to make sure the Samsung Expert RAW mode is available in your phone's camera software. Here's how to do that.

1.) Open the camera app.

2.) Swipe over to the more area on the mode carousel at the bottom of the camera viewfinder.

3.) Tap Expert RAW.

4.) Tap the settings icon in the top left.

5.) Ensure that special photo options are enabled.

(Image credit: Android Central)

You may have to download Expert RAW from the Galaxy Store if you haven't done that before. If you don't already have it installed, the phone will automatically go to the Galaxy Store when you tap the Expert RAW mode so you can download it.

In order for the Astrophoto setting to become available, you'll need to have your phone stabilized on a tripod so that it isn't moving. We recommend picking up this affordable phone tripod from Amazon if you don't already have one.

How to use Astrophoto mode on a Samsung Galaxy phone

Once your phone is mounted on the Tripod and you have opened the Expert RAW app, follow these instructions to take an Astrophoto and capture the stars:

1.) In the Expert RAW viewfinder, ensure that your photos are set to 12 MP resolution. Astrophoto isn't available when using higher resolutions.

2.) Tap the constellation icon on the top right.

(Image credit: Android Central)

3.) From the pop-up, select your settings.

4.) Change the duration to gather more light and create a more stunning night shot.

5.) Enable the sky guide to find named stars and constellations easily from the viewfinder.

6.) Tap the shutter button when you're ready to take the picture.

7.) Don't move the phone while it's taking the astrophoto. Otherwise, you'll just end up with a blurry image.

(Image credit: Android Central)

Making the picture better

After you take the photo, tap on the thumbnail preview in the viewfinder to preview it. The Camera RAW app will likely suggest editing it a bit to make it look more impressive. We suggest Adobe Lightroom as it provides great tools for this express purpose. Samsung's software will also suggest that you use Lightroom.

As you can see from above, the original picture looks like a photo taken of a blue sky during the day. As this photo was originally taken past 10 PM in March, I can assure you it was nowhere near this bright outside. The second photo shows how different the same image can look after it has been edited in Lightroom.

Since this is a RAW photo, photo editing can be used to make substantial changes in the final photo by adjusting the "raw" parameters of the photo. Pulling down the exposure slider, blacks, and shadows, and ramping up the highlights and whites help produce a much better looking nighttime photo of the sky.

Nicholas Sutrich
Senior Content Producer — Smartphones & VR
Nick started with DOS and NES and uses those fond memories of floppy disks and cartridges to fuel his opinions on modern tech. Whether it's VR, smart home gadgets, or something else that beeps and boops, he's been writing about it since 2011. Reach him on Twitter or Instagram @Gwanatu