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An Introduction to Astrophotography: Shooting Stars for Beginners


Shooting the night sky can produce amazing images of endless starry skies, but it can be challenging to those used to working with plenty of light. This 15-minute beginner’s guide from Josh Katz teaches the key elements of astrophotography, and how to capture the sky even in sub-optimal conditions.

Katz explains the equipment that you will need (a camera, a tripod, and preferably a wide-angled lens), how to choose a location, how to compose and the best camera settings to use, ending with tips on editing the captured images in Lightroom.

The video is broken down into sections as follows:

1:20 – Equipment You Need
2:52 – Light Pollution + Sky Mapping
4:20 – Step 1: Setting Up + Locations
5:10 – Step 2: Composition
6:08 – Step 3: Alignment (Basic Camera Settings)
6:42 – Step 4: Aperture
7:28 – Step 5: Shutter Speed
7:56 – Step 6: ISO
8:25 – Step 7: Focusing
9:09 – Step 8: Experimenting + Review
9:58 – Step 9: Lighting the Foreground Subject
11:12 – Step 10: Refining Your Shot
11:38 – Step 11: Editing in Lightroom

After watching the video at the top, you may also want to check out our article on the ‘500 Rule’, which Katz mentions in his tutorial. This helps calculate the longest shutter speed you can use before you start to get star trails.

He also mentions a light pollution map which can be reached at this link, and is a great way to find nearby locations with a clear view of the sky.

Katz has amassed a huge collection of videos on his YouTube channel over the past 10 years, so be sure to check them out when you’re done. You can also find more about him and his various tutorials at his website.

(via Josh Katz via Fstoppers)

Image credits: Photographs by Josh Katz and used with permission