Wondering how to create amazing GoPro Hero 12 Star Trails photos? This is a new feature that is only available on the latest GoPro models (Hero 12 and Hero 11), and it has given me new inspirations.

Today, you’ll learn how to set up your camera to capture the most mesmerizing star trails shots.

Watch my quick tutorial where I give an overview to GoPro Hero 12 Star Trails mode:

How to Use GoPro HERO 12 [Beginner’s Guide 2024]


  • Always secure your camera to a stable object or tripod and aimed it towards the sky for the stable footage
  • Star Trails is a video mode. After the video finishes, you can extract a frame to get an image
  • Consider bringing extra batteries if you plan to film a lot
  • Longer exposures give you those elongated trails, while shorter ones lead to clear, briefer streaks


How To Use Star Trails Mode on GoPro Hero 12

Let’s see how to setup your GoPro in Star Trail mode:

Enable Star Trails Mode

  1. Turn on your GoPro Hero 12
  2. Change to Timelapse shooting mode.
  3. Press the preset button, then navigate to and select Star Trail mode.
  4. Film your video using recommended settings.
  5. Once you’ve finished recording a video, you can easily pick out a frame from it.

This lets you capture a beautiful star trails photo, giving you the best of both video and still photography in one go!


  • Mode: Star Trail
  • Resolution: 5.3k
  • Lens: Wide
  • Format: Video
  • Interval: Every 5 seconds
  • Shutter: Set to Auto
  • Duration: Unlimited
  • Timer Delay: 3 seconds
  • Scheduled Setting: Optional
  • Zoom Level: 1.0x”

Alternative Ways To Capture Star Trails

Alternatively, you can take star trails photo directly without video.

gopro hero 11 star trails

To achieve this, you’ll need to turn to the Night Lapse Photo mode on your Hero 12 Black.

The Night Lapse Photo mode is similar to time-lapse photography, capturing a sequence of photos at predetermined intervals. This approach allows you to later sift through the images and select the most captivating star trail shots.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to get you started:

  1. Swipe left until you reach Time Lapse mode.
  2. Tap the current Time Lapse mode setting, then scroll down to Night Lapse Photo.
  3. Tap the pencil icon to adjust your Night Lapse settings.
  4. Shutter + Interval: AUTO
  5. FOV (Field of View): Linear

With these settings in place, your GoPro Hero 12 Black will automatically capture a series of photos at intervals during your night shoot. In post-production, you can then merge these frames into a single, captivating star trail photograph using software like Photoshop.


Tips for Epic GoPro Hero 12 Star Trails Shots

To help you achieve stellar results, I’ve compiled a set of essential tips that will elevate your star trail photography game to the next level:

Scout Your Location

Before you set up your GoPro Hero 12, scout your location during daylight hours. Identify a spot with minimal light pollution, a clear view of the night sky, and interesting foreground elements. Your chosen location can significantly impact the quality and composition of your star trail shots.

Bring Extra Batteries

Star trail photography often involves extended shooting sessions that can quickly drain your camera’s battery. To avoid interruptions, carry spare batteries and a portable charger to ensure your GoPro Hero 12 remains powered throughout the night.

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Use a Sturdy Tripod

A stable platform is essential for capturing sharp star trails. Invest in a high-quality tripod to minimize camera shake caused by wind or vibrations. Make sure it can support the weight of your GoPro and any additional accessories.

Frame Your Shot Carefully

Compose your shot thoughtfully, considering the elements in the frame. A captivating foreground, such as trees, mountains, or a landmark, can add depth and interest to your star trail photos. Experiment with different angles and compositions until you find the perfect frame.

Perfect Your Focus

Achieving sharp star trails hinges on accurate focus. Use manual focus to set your camera to infinity or adjust it for the foreground elements, depending on your desired effect. Take test shots to fine-tune the focus before starting a long exposure.

Manage Your Exposure Time

Determine the appropriate exposure time based on the ambient light conditions and the length of star trails you want to capture. Longer exposures create longer trails, while shorter exposures result in distinct, shorter streaks. Experiment with various exposure times to achieve your desired effect.

Keep Your Lens Clean

Dust and smudges on your lens can detract from the quality of your star trail photos. Clean your lens thoroughly before your shoot and carry a lens cleaning kit with you in case you need to remove any obstructions during your session.

Use Interval Shooting

Utilize your GoPro Hero 12’s interval shooting feature to automate the process of capturing a series of images. This not only reduces the strain on your camera but also makes post-production star trail stacking more manageable.

Dress Warm and Stay Patient

Star trail photography can require long hours under the night sky. Dress warmly and bring provisions to stay comfortable and patient during your shoot. Remember that capturing the perfect star trails often requires time and multiple exposures.

Experiment & Learn

Each star trail session is a learning experience. Experiment with different settings, compositions, and locations. Pay attention to what works best for you and adapt your approach accordingly. The more you practice, the better your star trail shots will become.

With these tips in mind, you’re well-equipped to capture epic star trail shots with your GoPro Hero 12. Remember that patience, practice, and a dash of creativity will lead you to stunning results that showcase the breathtaking beauty of the night sky.


Bonus: How To Capture Better Star Photos (No Star Trail)

Star Trail is not the only one options to capture stars with your GoPro.

Capturing the stars in all their brilliance is made perfect with the GoPro Night Photo mode, which allows for a shutter length setting of up to 30 seconds. This equivalents to setting up a long exposure shot, which is perfect for capturing the stars in all their glory. 

Let’s explore the optimal Hero 12 settings for various star photography scenarios:

Starry Sky with No Moon

gopro hero 11 star trails night mode

If you find yourself beneath a moonless, star-studded sky with no foreground lighting, these settings will help you achieve stunning starry captures:

  • Mode: Night Photo
  • Shutter: 30 seconds
  • ISO Min + Max: 1600
  • Output: RAW

For low-light enthusiasts, the Night Mode setting also warrants attention. You’ll find it to be an excellent choice for similar conditions.

Starry Sky with a Dull, Waning Moon

When a dull, waning moon is your only source of light, use it to your advantage to illuminate the foreground. Employ these recommended settings:

  • Mode: Night Photo
  • Shutter: 30 seconds
  • ISO Min + Max: 1600
  • Output: RAW

Starry Sky with a Bright Moon

gopro hero 11 night settings

In the presence of a bright moon, I recommend you to pay special attention to high-contrast areas. If shadows play a significant role, these settings will work best:

  • Mode: Night Photo
  • Shutter: 20 seconds
  • ISO Min + Max: 1600
  • Output: RAW

Conversely, if you require a faster shutter speed to adapt to changing conditions, consider these settings:

  • Mode: Night Photo
  • Shutter: 10 seconds
  • ISO Min + Max: 3200
  • Output: RAW



Thanks for reading! ?

I hope this guide helped you know all about the best GoPro Hero 12 settings for some epic star trail shots. ?


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