Top 10 pro Tips for Astrophotography
Alyn Wallace shares his top techniques for astro shots that are absolutely stellar
1 Wrap up warm
on cloudless nights, temperatures can drop very quickly, so it’s important to wrap up warm. The less you’re worried about the cold, the more you can focus on being creative.
2 Go wide
Using a wide angle lens will allow you to take in as much of the wonderful night sky as possible, while adding compositional interest by including some landscape based foreground features.
3 Go fast
The faster the aperture, the better. f/4 is a good start but if you really want to get the most out of the milky Way you’ll need at least f/2.8
4 Don’t shake the camera
make sure your tripod is level and sturdy and use a cable shutter release to fire the button. if you don’t have a shutter release, use a 2-second delay.
5 Take a headtorch
it’s going to be dark! Using a headtorch will also leave your hands free to fiddle with the buttons and settings. you can also use it to light-paint your foreground.
6 Know your location
composing in the dark can prove quite difficult and time-consuming. Go to a location you know well, or first scout it out while it’s still light.
7 The 500 rule
if you expose for too long, the stars will create light trails as the earth rotates. Use the 500 rule to find your maximum shutter speed – simply divide 500 by your focal length (300 rule for crop cameras).
8 Blending exposures
if your foreground is too dark, try a longer exposure of maybe multiple minutes at a lower iso and blend it in using layer masks in Photoshop.
9 Check your histogram
When you’re out in the dark, the image preview on the back of the camera will be super bright. check your histogram to make sure you’re exposing correctly.
10 Get rid of that noise
high iso settings result in noisy images. Photoshop and lightroom’s built-in noise reduction does a great job of smoothing out the noise and making your images more aesthetically pleasing.