For many photographers, when the light begins to fade it’s time to pack up the camera and head home. However, for the budding astrophotographer this is the perfect time to begin practising those photography skills that will help capture some fantastic shots of the night sky. For the more experienced astrophotographer, this is the time for capturing the mysteries that they know the sky holds.
Astrophotography isn’t for everyone, but if unveiling the mysteries of the night sky and capturing them in a photograph is something that you want to try, this guide could help. Here, we offer a brief astrophotography for beginner’s guide.
Get the right equipment
With astrophotography, the right camera is even more important than with any other type of photography. This does not mean that you need to spend thousands of pounds, but it does mean that you should expect to spend a good amount. This means a DSLR camera that has the option of interchangeable lenses as well as manual controls. This type of camera has a superb low-light sensitivity which makes it an ideal choice for this type of photography. It will offer you less colour shift and noise – these are the things that will muddy your photos and make all of your efforts to get a great photo fruitless.
Whilst a good camera will come with a lens that will provide you with images that are reasonable, it is worth investing a little more in a wide aperture, wide angle lens. What you need is to be able to shoot faster exposures. This will provide you with a much better quality and less noise.
The other piece of very important equipment that you will need for astrophotography is a good quality tripod. If you want the best chance of great photos, then you need to not only reduce noise but also things like camera shake and this means using a tripod rather than holding your camera. When it comes to astrophotography, every little thing that you can do will certainly help.
The biggest thing that a beginner in the field of astrophotography needs to remember is that patience is the key to taking great photos. Once you have set up your camera you will probably spend a long time just waiting for the right shot to come along. This is not like pointing your camera at a landscape and clicking, unfortunately, everything needs to be just right.
Setting everything up properly is vital because if your camera moves even the slightest bit when you take your photo then it will be ruined. Using a timer or a remote control can be a good way of reducing the risk of the camera moving.
Bring a light
When you are trying to photograph a dark night sky, bringing a light along may seem a little silly. However, if you want to be able to see your camera properly to set it up correctly, and you want to make sure you don’t accidently knock into it and spoil your careful setup then a light is a must. You could use your light for light painting. This involves lighting up parts of the landscape to make your photographs more interesting.
The best photographs take time, and this means practicing. So when it gets dark, get out there with your camera and take photos. The digital age means you can shoot as many photographs as you want and see what works and what doesn’t. Over time, with practice, you will find your images improving. There are apps that you can use to check the condition of the night sky as well, and these will help you to determine when the best time is to take your photos.
Hopefully we’ve now given you the basics to help you begin your journey into astrophotography. Why not grab your camera and head out to your favourite spot to try it out.