5 Tips for Taking Better Astrophotos Using DSLR
Have you stared at the night sky lately on a clear night? Have you gazed at the beauty above and wished you can capture the magic that’s happening right before your eyes? With the advancements in technology right now, capturing a picture-perfect night sky is easier than ever.
All you need is basically a camera with manual exposure mode or any DSLR in the market. Having a remote control or a shutter is also important and a tripod is a must if you want sharp photographs! This ensures that we eliminate any chance of shaking the camera when capturing those photos.
And of course, you will need a subject. Any cluster of stars, a familiar constellation or milkyway could be your first test shot. You can also watch out for these stargazing events and document rare occurrences with your camera setup!
In order to take breathtaking shots, here are 5 tips you should consider.
Choose Your Camera Setting
Your camera setting has a lot to do with the output of your shoot. This can get quite tricky especially for newbies. But a basic understanding of each setting will allow you to get what you want in a photo.
Take note that you have to use the manual mode and shoot in RAW image format. When taking astrophotos, use a lens with a large or “fast” aperture. A 28mm lens at f/2.8 to f/4 is ideal for this kind of photography. ISO setting should be as high as 400 to 1600 to still maintain the darkness of the sky while revealing the brightness of the stars.
Remember that a perfect exposure depends a lot on the conditions in which you are shooting in. Weather and pollution affects the clarity as well as color reproduction. Some of these may be adjusted later during post production and processing.
If you want to have more color or more noise in your picture, crank your ISO setting higher. However noise is always unwanted element. Exposure length could be at 30 seconds maximum. Anything longer would get obvious trailing from the rotation.
When putting these into practice, you might find yourself wanting to adjust a setting or two. Try these settings with a grain of salt and experiment with your camera. The best results will be when you learn by doing.
Frame the Night Sky With The Use of A Foreground
Pointing and shooting at the night sky will not give you the great photos that you imagine. Instead, it will give you a dark background with tiny red, white or blue dots all around.
Not as appealing as it should be, right? It is because our eyes see things differently than our lens. We have the concept of a peripheral view; our lenses do not.
In order to make it look better than just a black canvas with spots, frame the dark night sky using the world around you. Landscapes, mountains, trees or people can become your frame of reference to make your photo look better. You can also try using silhouettes for that more dramatic look!
Use a Delay Timer or a Remote
In order to capture as much detail of the sky objects and as much starlight as you can, long exposure images should be taken. Meaning the camera shutter will be left open for long periods of time while the camera collects the dim lights from the surrounding space on it’s sensor.
The most important thing is, the camera has to remain still all throughout or should be moving with the night sky for a better shot. Any small quiver may result in catastrophic damage to the photo and the mere act of pressing the shutter can affect the clarity and sharpness of your image.
To avoid having to retake the shot or much worse missing the shot, use the delay timer on your camera’s setting or a remote control if available. This way, you avoid touching the camera and avoid the chance of ruining the photo! A simple solution to a simple problem, really.
Use a Sturdy Tripod
A reliable and sturdy tripod is vital in taking good images of the sky. The nature of astrophotography requires stability and stillness – a total state of equilibrium.
As mentioned earlier, one small shake can ruin your chances of getting amazing photos. A tripod with a ball head is most preferred as it can give you a wide range of view angles: upward, sidewards, and anywhere in between!
When using a tripod, choose one that can balance your camera well despite the imbalance in weight. Make sure that all screws or knobs are secured tightly before leaving it alone to avoid any accidents.
Post Production Editing is Important
You might be thinking at this point, my work is done! Quite the contrary.
Before you hastily print/post and frame those raw images, you might want to do some edits first. Post-production editing is as important as taking a good photo.
A good understanding of how editing software like Adobe Lightroom works is needed. Knowing how to process pictures will further enhance your already spectacular image! There are also available photography applications you can try. You can always refer to video tutorials available online.
Astrophotography may not be a very easy thing to do but rest assured that it can be a very rewarding one. Just being able to capture the stillness of the night sky, with all its beauty and wonder condensed in one magnificent shot, is priceless.
It takes time and patience to achieve stunning results but everything good takes time, as they say. You are encouraged to try your own techniques and discover your own recipe for a perfect shot.
Let us know your top Tips for Taking Better Astrophotos Using DSLR.
So go on, explore the world through your own lenses!
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