The night photography of stars, also called astrophotography, is a very attractive and interesting photograph. But sometimes our photographs do not have the strength we want, they lack something that attracts attention.
But do not worry, there are many resources we can use to make our astrophotography more interesting. There are 10 tips in this article that will be very useful to get it. Attention!
1. Illuminate the Landscape
What often does not attract the attention of our astrophotography is that there is too much shadowy landscape that does not attract attention. A good way to add value to our photo is to give meaning to the first printout of the photo.
By illuminating this landscape with more information, more attention can be drawn. We can illuminate the landscape in different ways:
- Enlighten yourself: With a flashlight or a flash pointer, you can illuminate the landscape in 20 to 30 seconds, during which the stars are normally captured. Of course, this method will only be used to illuminate landscapes that are not too wide, because if, for example, you see distant mountains, you can not illuminate them.
- Use Light Pollution in Your Favor: When you’re in a very wide landscape, it’s best to fully illuminate it by using the light pollution in your favor, whether it’s from a nearby city or from the moonlight. It is true that this light pollution will darken many of the stars in the sky, but a perfectly lit landscape.
- Mix two photographs: If you want to illuminate the landscape but do not want to lose stars because of light pollution, it is best to take two shots and then join them in editing. You just have to expose the sky well in one and in the other the ground, giving it more time of exposure without worrying about the stars starting to leave a trace. A good trick is also to go to the location in the blue hour and make the photograph of the ground at this time, wait until the night falls completely without moving the frame, and then shoot the shot of the sky. It is more cumbersome to have to wait, but this method gives your photography some beautiful tones and also generates less noise.
2. Look for Interesting Silhouettes
We do not always need to shed light on the first term to add weight to photography. Another way to give some attention to the first term is to look for an interesting silhouette that contrasts with the sky that attracts attention. A twisted tree, a steep mountain or simply the silhouette of a person is enough to give your photo the touch he lacks.
You just have to place your frame so that the silhouette stands out clearly against the sky. Keep in mind that you often have to position your camera quite close to the ground and take a Kontrapicado image so that the silhouette is above the sky and not covered by the rest of the ground.
3. Focus on the First Term
We have already told you that it is important to focus more strongly on the first expression of your photography. However, if you place your focus point in the first semester, the background will appear out of focus.
Sometimes this effect can be interesting as the stars make a nice bokeh and can be a very original shot. However, if this is not what you are looking for, you can focus your first semester and background in two ways at once:
- Focus on the hyperfocal distance: Remember that the hyperfocal distance is the minimum focus distance that allows us to reach a greater depth of field and achieve an approach that extends from half of that distance to infinity. If we want our first term to appear focused but the background is clear, focusing on hyperfocal distance is very helpful.
- Focus on the Focus: If the first term is very close to our camera, we can not even focus on the hyperfocal distance so that both the background and the background appear clear. In this case, we have no choice but to create a focus stack, also known as bracketing or focus bracketing. This technique consists of taking multiple photos that vary the focus, then inserting them into the process and getting a photo with all its sharp parts.
4. Add Lightpainting Effects
One of the most notable resources in night photography is light painting. The “painting with light” leaves very interesting colors and shapes that will undoubtedly give your photography incredible attention.
The combination of light painting with astrophotography, however, can be a bit more difficult than it seems at first glance. You should keep in mind that our camera is configured to capture a lot of light with very high ISO and full aperture. Thus, any light-color effect with these parameters can easily burn.
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5. Hunting a Shooting Star
Something that may offer our astrophotography the center of interest that is missing is a pretty shooting star through the night sky. Of course, that’s not easy to achieve. The hunt for a shooting star depends on two main factors: patience and luck.
However, we can use certain seasons to capture our long awaited shooting star. Yes, I am referring to the nights of the star rain. Just as a shooting star can be caught on any given night, it is unlikely that staring at night will be much easier. Not only do we know that falling stars will fall, yes or yes, shooting stars, but also from which ray they are born, making it easier to know where to frame them.
The chances of catching a star multiply exponentially with the nocturnal rainy nights. This is a great opportunity for any shot to become an impressive photograph.
If you want to get to know the best tips for shooting shooting stars and the most important ones of the year.
6. Dare to Use Longer Focal
When we think of the stars, we always think that we need a wide-angle lens, the more the better. Usually it’s true, I will not say no, but it’s also true that we can do spectacular astrophotos with shorter focal lengths.
As we said before, the longer the focal length we shoot, the closer the background seems to be. In star photography, we will “bring the sky closer,” that is, we will perceive it visually larger. Especially in images of the Milky Way we can make the galactic center appear larger with longer focal lengths.
The larger the focal length, the fewer seconds it takes for the stars to leave a mark. If we do not have an equatorial mount that follows Earth’s rotation, using very long focal lengths is not possible because we need to shoot with shutter speeds that are too short for our camera to pick up enough light from the camera to show stars in the photo.
For example, use a 35 mm. We can still shoot 10 or 15 seconds without the stars leaving a trace, so we can still illuminate the starry sky well. And even if it is not too long focal length, this already leads to the effect of “approaching the sky” compared to a wide-angle lens.
7. Take a Panoramic
Evening panoramas are also a very attractive resource for showing enough sky without cropping the landscape. In addition, they allow us to capture the entire arc of the Milky Way, which is always very interesting.
The night panoramas are created like any other panorama. You need to take multiple shots that have at least 30% of the previous and the next photos for the editing program to correctly assemble them.
8. Take advantage of Reflections
Something that always attracts a lot of attention in every landscape photography is the reflections in the water. In the case of astrophotography, the stars reflected in the water undoubtedly give an interesting plus for your photography.
Remember that the water needs to be very calm so that the stars are fairly clear. For example, water from a lake, a reservoir or the shore of the beach is ideal.
9. Make a Circumpolar or a Star Trails
A very original effect, which always attracts a lot of attention, are the circumpolar photographs. These consist of taking a photo with a very long exposure of many minutes or even hours to capture the trail of the stars around the Polaris (or South Star in the southern hemisphere).
However, this type of recording causes a lot of noise and can overheat your camera’s sensor, which can be dangerous. For this reason, a star path is usually used instead of a circumpolar take.
But how is a circumpolar photograph different from a star trail? Just as circumpolar photography is a shot with a very long shutter speed, star trails are a combination of hundreds of shorter exposures. The result is very similar, but with the advantage that we do not overheat the sensor of our camera or generate so much noise.
10. Process the Photograph
If you want your starry sky to attract much more attention, it’s important that you edit the photo. Most of the stunning images of the Milky Way are processed to get the most out of the sky. So if you want to improve the Milky Way’s shapes and get a truly stunning astrophotography, you’ll need to work on your photography.
There are several techniques to improve the starry sky of your photos.