Shooting for the stars is easier said than done. Shooting the stars, however, is a whole different ball game. Photographing the night sky has become a surprisingly easy task for even novice photographers let alone professionals.
High-resolution astrophotography reveals details on amazing solar system objects. Not to mention, it can be magically captivating to the human eye.
Photography forms such as abstract may not be everyone’s cup of tea and a niche like real estate photography may not fit everyone’s needs. But astrophotography is a universally loved art form that can mesmerize just about anybody.
Beginner tips for astrophotography
1. Find dark skies
If you live in a city, you’ll immediately know what we’re talking about. Due to light pollution mainly predominant in urban areas, the stars are barely ever visible. So if you really want to go all out on astrophotography, you’re going to have to venture away from the city and seek darker skies.
It’s not like you can direct a strobe light at the sky and perfect the lighting. You’ve got to work with what you have, or rather, what you find. The moon can also be important as a full moon can wash out the stars in the sky.
2. Use the right equipment
There are a few essential gears that can get your all set for your night out- astrophotography-wise, of course. Apart from your camera and lens, you’ll need a sturdy tripod as well as a shutter release to keep the camera stable.
If you’re a beginner, not willing to invest too much in equipment, it’s important to set realistic expectations about what you’ll be able to achieve with the most basic astrophotography setup.
3. Adjust your settings
Photographing the sky isn’t the same as any other kind of photography, not even close. Your lens most definitely won’t be able to autofocus on stars, so leave it on manual.
If you want to capture the stars clearly, you can use the Rule of 600. So if you want to avoid photographing the movement of the stars as the earth rotates, you have to calculate your shutter speed by dividing 600 by the focal length of your lens.
It is also always advisable to shoot in RAW rather than JPEG so that you can use photo editing to produce a brighter, more detailed image.
4. Consider weather and sky conditions
As with any outdoor photography, weather can be a real buzzkill if it decides to act out. So consider the weather conditions in advance and plan your shoot accordingly.
Cloudy days can ruin your chances of getting a clear shot of the stars. Even beautiful moonlit days can blur out very clearly exposed constellations.
5. Find your frame
Start considering the composition of the elements in your frame. You can include elements like a house, a tree or a person to give your night-sky image more of a personality. This creates a relationship between the two elements which tells a story through their interaction.
Even though celestial bodies are eye-catching on their own, adding other elements can give the viewers more context to latch on to.
Even if you’re highly adept at astrophotography, there is always so much more to learn. It requires quite a lot of planning and can be a tiresome ordeal for most photographers. But blending our tips with the right kind of passion can lead to fascinating pictures.
Astrophotography may not be cut out for everyone. You’ve got to be passionate about celestial beauty and also willing to saddle up for long nights in the wilderness. If that sounds like a treat, maybe you’ve ventured into your next career.
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