Everyone sees all those photos on the internet of people posting how they shot a photo of the Milky Way, it’s quite amazing but astrophotography can be tricky for some beginner photographers. But once you learn how to do it, it’s not that hard to do after all. Here are the steps to shooting astrophotography:
How to Shoot Astrophotography
1. Find your shooting spot.
The best locations are dark places without any light, possibly away from the city and street lights to avoid a thing called “light pollution”. Light pollution is when you’re shooting long exposure and because of the yellow street lights, your photo becomes yellow and not good looking. That’s why it’s best to shoot away from the city.
Also, when shooting in dark places with almost to no light your eyes really open up and it’s amazing how more visible the stars become (you can even spot the Milky Way but very slightly).
2. Use a wide-angle lens.
It’s better to use a wide-angle lens for longer exposure times if you’re using a standard tripod, and here’s why. When using a wide-angle lens you can shoot at a longer exposure without any star trailing (light trails from the stars because they’re moving).
If you use a longer lens it’s tricky because it’s zoomed in and star trailing is far more noticeable, and that’s why it’s better to use a wide-angle, plus you’ll get a much wider field of view.
3. Use a tripod.
It’s ideal to use a tripod to get the perfect long exposure image. The tripod helps because it keeps the camera locked in place so it doesn’t move, because moving the camera while shooting long exposure will result in very blurry images. Keep your tripod locked in place with the camera pointing up the sky and the Milky Way in the frame.
4. Set-up your camera settings.
For astrophotography, you’ll need to let in as much light into the camera as possible, and it’s ideal to use manual mode because it’s almost impossible to shoot astrophotography in auto mode.
- Use a fast aperture (set your aperture as wide open as possible)
- Set your shutter speed slow (15sec-30sec)
- You can experiment with your ISO but remember: ISO is the sensor’s light sensitivity, setting it higher will only result in a brighter image but with more digital noise.
5. Camera focus.
To set the focus it’s really easy. First off, switch to manual focus and set the focus to infinity. Simple as that.
6. Use the camera’s timer or a remote shutter.
You’re shooting long exposure and you need to avoid camera shake. That’s why I recommend shooting with your camera’s timer to avoid camera shake. If you have a remote shutter you can use that too. No matter how steady your hands are when pressing the camera shutter without a timer it will cause camera shake.