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Star Photography Tutorials: The Complete Guide

There is something very special about star photography; training your camera on the sky at night unveils the universe as you’ve never seen it before. It’s no surprise, then, that photographing the stars is a popular pastime. In this article, we’ll look at some of the essential star photography tutorials that you need to take great night sky photos.

Star photography can be tricky. Like with any landscape photo, there are a number of elements to get right. But doing them all at night, often in the cold, adds another level of difficulty to the process. For example, one of the trickiest things that photographers struggle with is achieving sharp star photos. Luckily, we have star photography tutorials that tackle exactly that problem, and much more!

Star Photography Tutorials

Well, let’s get started! I’m going to summarise a number of articles that I recommend any keen night sky photographer reads. We have something for everyone here.

1. How to Photograph the Milky Way

Learn how to capture the Milky Way galaxy on camera. This guide looks at everything from the best locations and timings, through to the best equipment and camera settings. Once you’ve read this piece, you’ll be ready to take on the entire galaxy.

Learn more: How to Photograph the Milky Way

star photography tutorials

2. Getting Sharp Stars in Photos

One of the trickier parts of star photography, getting sharp stars is essential to a good night sky photo. This article looks at everything you should not do (as well as everything you need to do in the first place) to ensure sharp stars.

There are a number of factors that might throw your image off; not all of them are as you’d expect. For example, did you know that the infinity marker on your lens doesn’t always mean the stars are in focus? Read on for more…

Reach for the stars: How to Get Sharp and In Focus Stars in Starscape Photos

sharp stars

3. How to Take Star Trail Photos

This star photography tutorial will show you how to capture star trails. This is when you intentionally let the stars blur (thanks to the rotation of the Earth) and create light trails in your frame.

Since you’re going to have to blend a number of exposures together, the trick is ensuring that there are no gaps in the lines between frames. This tutorial will show you what to do!

Read more: How to Photograph Star Trails

We also have a great YouTube video showing you how to take star trail images, which you can watch here.

star photography tutorials

4. Photographing the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis)

A popular phenomenon to photograph, the Northern Lights (also known as the Aurora Borealis) is truly mesmerising. If you’re lucky enough to see it, then you’ll want to know how to make the most of the opportunity. Luckily, we have a couple of resources that show you how to do it.

star photography tutorials

5. How to Photograph Meteor Showers

Capture one of the more mesmerising celestial events. Keep an eye on your astro calendar and be prepared for any impending meteor showers. This guide has everything you need to know.

Read more: How to Photograph Meteor Showers

6. General Night Sky Photography Settings

Whether you’re focusing on the stars, moon, or just a general night-scape, there are some best practices that you can employ to ensure great photos every time.

Learn more: The Best Settings for Night Photos

7. How to Photograph the Moon

The moon is often avoided by star photographers because its light drastically reduces the number of stars you can see in a long exposure image. However, the moon itself can make for a great subject. Learn how to properly capture it in a number of scenarios.

moonrise

8. Tips for Night Sky Photos with Mirrorless Cameras

Mirrorless cameras aren’t best suited for night sky photos. They don’t have an optical viewfinder, and they don’t often have great battery life either. However, one of our resident star photographers on the blog has some top tips for optimising your mirrorless camera for use at night!

Read more: How to Take Night Sky Photos with Mirrorless Cameras

9. Star Photography Tutorials for Editing Photos

Ok, so you’ve got your shot. But do you know how to edit it properly? This is another crucial part of your workflow in the digital age, and you can make or break your shot in the process! We have a couple of great star photography tutorials here for you to learn how to properly process a star photo:

editing star photos

In conclusion

As you can see, we have a great arsenal of star photography tutorials that you should read if you’re planning on heading out with your camera at night.

Is there something else you’d like to know? Or perhaps you’ve got some star photos to share with us; you can do so in the comments below. Good luck!

Will Nicholls is the founder of Nature TTL and a professional wildlife photographer and film-maker from England. Having been photographing since the age of 12, Will's images have won a string of awards, including the title of "Young British Wildlife Photographer of the Year" in 2009 from the British Wildlife Photography Awards. Will is also the author of the book On the Trail of Red Squirrels.

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