These 7 Great Astrophotography Tutorials Will Make You Want to Shoot the Stars Tonight

By Ritesh Saini / January 27, 2014

Astrophotography is a specialized field of photography that involves capturing images of celestial objects and the night sky. The range of photographs you can create is really diverse. From photographing star trails using a simple setup to capturing images of the deep sky using a sophisticated setup involving telescopes and what not, there is so much to learn. Though astrophotography requires you to put in extra effort and time, it is highly rewarding when you see the striking results you’ve produced. Here are some links to great astrophotography resources and tutorials to inspire you to go out and start photographing.

M101 – The Pinwheel Galaxy by Jared Smith, on Flickr

1. Astrophotography Techniques

This is a comprehensive guide by Jerry Lodriguss that takes you through the topic of astrophotography and how it is done. From introduction to the topic to the equipment needed and the software required to get the job done, this guide lists it all. Do check out the other links as well:

– Accessories for Astrophotography
Telescopes for Astrophotography
DSLR Cameras for Astrophotography

2. From Beginners to Pros: A List of Video Tutorials

This reddit post has youtube video links to astrophotography videos for beginners and advanced amateurs alike. If you would like to do astrophotography using just your camera and a tripod, or if you would like to use a telescope and you’re wondering how to attach your DSLR camera to your telescope, you should check out the long list of videos there. Other cool videos include:

Safe Solar Viewing
How to Align an Equatorial Mount

Big Andromeda galaxy (M31) by xamad, on Flickr

3. An Astrophotography Primer

This post at DPChallenge is a good starting point to get introduced to the topic and the various methods of astrophotography, all on a single webpage. As the title says, it is not really a tutorial but a primer on the topic. Another great how-to guide can be found here on Instructable

4. Photoshop Tutorials for Astrophotography 

It always takes a bit of post-processing to take your photos to the next level, and in the case of astrophotography, post-processing is an essential step. This post on the forum of Stargazers Lounge lists links to some very useful image processing articles and videos. This pdf guide, for instance, takes you through the steps involved in using the levels adjustment to drastically improve your deep sky photos. Here are some cool links found on the page:

Astro Imaging Tutorials
Star Color Enhancement in Photoshop
Photoshop Techniques for Astrophotography

M42 – The Orion Nebula (III) by dr carl, on Flickr

5. Digital SLR Astrophotography

This step-by-step guide by Ray Shore directs you on how to use your DSLR to photograph deep sky. Full with comprehensive instructions, this tutorial guides you right from the point where you are taught how to attach the camera to the telescope to the final step that involves image processing.

6. Capturing the Sun

This post by photographer Kevin Lewis guides you through the setup involved in capturing the Sun through a Coronado Personal Solar Telescope. Also, be sure to check Alan Friedman’s images of the Sun

Sun_20130909_145514_SolarMosaic_FC by dephelis, on Flickr

7. DIY Projects on Astrophotography

Agreed that astrophotography equipment can get a little expensive, but that’s no reason not to indulge in your love for photographing the sky. There are some cool do-it-yourself projects that you can consider. Building a motorized barn door tracker, for instance, can help you rotate your camera to keep it aligned with stars. If you are up for the challenge, you can build an equatorial mount as well. The quality may not be as splendid as that obtained with proper, dedicated equipment, but it may help you get started. 

Deep sky by j-dub1980(THANK YOU FOR 100k+ Views), on Flickr

Links to Other Useful Resources

About the author

Ritesh Saini

Ritesh has been photographing for about seven years now and his photographic interests have varied from nature and landscapes to street photography. You can see his photography on Flickr or on his website.

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