I love photographing the city at night and I teach classes on this type of night photography. But when I was preparing for my trip to Michigan’s Headlands Dark Sky Park I learned quickly that photographing the stars is a completely different beast than shooting the city at night.

There are three types of astrophotography and the techniques for them are similar, but they are distinct.

  1. Shooting the milky way and stars as points
  2. Star Trails
  3. Timelapse

My favorite star photographers

Jennifer Wu

Recommended Astrophotography Books

Photography Night Sky: A Field Guide for Shooting After Dark by Jennifer Wu

Jennifer Wu’s book is the most accessible for night photography beginners. I concentrates mostly on night photography that you can do with a good camera and a tripod. I recommend this for anyone that is a DSLR or mirrorless hobbyist and wants to shoot the stars for something different. This is the book I read before going to the Headlands Dark Sky Park in Michigan.

Astrophotography by Thierry Legault and Getting Started: Budget Astrophotography by Allan Hall

These books start from the beginning but go beyond just shooting the Milky Way and star trails. They show you how to use tracking systems and telescopes to get images beyond what you can get with a good camera and a tripod. These are great for beginners, but are meant for people that want to get really serious about this as a hobby.

Podcasts on Astrophotography

Here is a three part intro to astrophotography from The Astronomy Cast: Part 1, The Gear, Part 2, Techniques, Part 3, Processing

Astrophotography videos

Here is an entire presentation from Cory and Tanja Schmitz on beginning night photography. You can learn everything from just the audio, so this would be a good thing to listen to on your way to and from work. They are presenting in South Africa, so don’t forget that the stars visible for them in the Southern Hemisphere in the summer are different than they are in the Northern Hemisphere!

Astrophotography online courses

Free courses

Astrophotography 101 from Lonely Speck

Astrophotography workshops

Goldpaint Photography Workshops

Ben Coffman Photography


Recommended equipment for astrophotography