A Beginner’s Guide to Night Sky Photography

 Astrophotography refers to photographing different aspects of the night sky. This could include a field of stars, a particularly lovely moon phase, or another kind of celestial event or object.
For the entire history of mankind, these kinds of images have fascinated and inspired people. Find out how to produce high-quality photos of the relatively small part of space that a lens can capture from Earth.

Developing Night Sky Photography Skills

The BBC even produces a magazine called The Sky at Night to share these kinds of images of space. The Sky at Night also published their own beginner’s guide to astrophotography. According to their night sky photography guide, even new photographers can capture high-quality images if they have the right equipment, some guidance, and a bit of practice.

Night Sky Photography Equipment:

Astrophotography cameras

The Sky at Night suggests a DSLR or mirrorless camera. The camera needs a manual mode because leaving the shutter open for a long time helps capture enough light to capture images of faint, distant objects. The camera setup must include a 38mm ball-head mount to allow movement. This list discusses some good beginner cameras.

Astrophotography mount

One thing that most photographers don’t often think about is the fact that the planet rotates rapidly. With long shutter times, this can actually move the focus of the camera. Special, motorized mounts, called star trackers, adjust for the movement of the Earth to keep the composition focused. For example, look at the Sky Watcher Star Adventurer.

Get Ready to Capture the Night Sky

Like any other kind of photography, excelling at astrophotography takes practice. These tips can help shorten the learning curve:
  • Practice focusing and aligning the camera to distant objects during the day. Also, make certain the stand sits on level ground. If the ground is uneven, the tracking will never work.
  • Take raw images and not JPGs. This captures more details, and software can help with manual editing later.
  • Use the infinity focus setting and the manual mode.
  • Try a manual shutter speed of at least 20 seconds.
  • A high ISO will capture more light but may produce granier images, so it takes some practice to get the balance exactly right.
  • Use a lens that allows for an f/4 aperture setting or lower. Lower settings mean wider apertures to allow more light.

How to Protect Cameras, Lenses, and Accessories

Astrophotography requires an investment in a high-quality camera, lenses, and an accessory called a star tracker. It goes without saying that the photographer will have to transport all of this equipment to an appropriate outdoor venue.
Extra accessories, like lens caps and padded cases, can help keep everything protected. At the same time, the mobility of this hobby makes sensitive equipment vulnerable to damage from accidents and the outdoor environment. After all, the camera, star tracker, and lenses can’t remain inside of their padded cases during the actual photography session.
While new photographers spend time learning how to use their new equipment, they certainly don’t want to feel consumed with worry that an accident or unexpected gust of rain or wind could ruin everything. A good extended warranty for cameras and accessories can relieve these concerns.

Affordable Camera and Camera Accessory Protection Plans

An affordable extended camera and camera accessory warranty is perhaps the most important piece of this night sky photography guide. Upsie warranties can alleviate stress by ensuring access to prompt, high-quality repairs. Upsie offers day and night access to claims representatives, local or mail-in service options, and robust protection against accidents, defects, and component failures. In fact, some people say that Upsie’s out of this world in the universe of protection plans.

Learn More About Cameras:

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* This article is over 6 months old and may or may not be updated.