If you want a new challenge in your photography, take shots that are out of this world. Astrophotography, the art of recording objects beyond Earth, seems much like other time-lapse photography styles, but its dark skies and distant, moving lights present unique challenges to push you creatively.
Take stunning astrophotography shots by getting your physical setup and camera settings right for this genre.
Before you shoot, know your stars.
Study what you are capturing. By learning about star constellations, you can decide which stars you want to include and where in your composition you want them displayed.
Stake your spot to study the sky.
Determine where you want to shoot your astrophotography images. Get away from big cities and their light pollution. Go toward less-settled regions and their visible skies.
Photo by Bryan Minear
Fine-tune your whitest whites.
Astrophotography relies on stars’ luminosity, so make sure their whiteness is stark. Adjust your white balance, either through one of your camera’s preset or by manual alteration.
Increase your ISO.
Your camera’s ISO setting determines the light sensitivity of your camera’s image sensor, and astrophotography requires high sensitivity. Expect to shoot at ISO 400 or more.
Rely on manual settings.
Your camera’s autofocus mode is unlikely to stay locked onto a moving star. Use manual focus and if your camera enables focus peaking ensure it is turned on.
Photo by Photo Rangers
Stay steady for an unwavering shot.
Everything you know about camera sturdiness applies to astrophotography. Set up your most trusted tripod and, if you have one, use your remote shutter release. If you don’t have a remote turn on your camera’s self timer for two or ten seconds.
Place your focus on a single star.
With your manual settings, select a star or moon to test and improve your focus. For larger stars or the moon, locate their very edge and make sure it is optimally clear.
Embrace star trails.
As you shoot from the rotating Earth, your long-exposure photos show the path of stars in the sky. To highlight star trails, choose a wide-angle lens, which keeps a broader range of the paths in your focal region.
Or, alternately, eliminate star trails.
If you want to focus on the sky’s stillness, you can reduce star trails, though you may want to stash a calculator in your camera bag. Astro photographers follow the Rule of 600, or the Rule of 500, depending on whom you ask, to determine their maximum exposure before star trail becomes visible. Divide the rule’s number by the focal length of your lens. If you have a 28mm lens, divide 500 by 28 to get 17.85. This means you can shoot at an exposure of 17 or 18 seconds before star trail appears.
Do not forsake the foreground.
Astrophotography shots can still have earthly elements. Frame your shots with trees or hilltops to give your composition added dimension.
Utilise editing software for finishing touches.
Astrophotography benefits greatly from post-production edits. Alter your contrast, exposure and white balance until the sky tells the story you want.
Consider yourself an astrophotography expert, or at least more than a novice. Minding these principles of camera settings and general composition, you are ready to stun with your space shots.
Photo by Josselin Cornou
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