A beginner's guide to astrophotography

CC0 Creative Commons
(Image credit: CC0 Creative Commons)

Creating jaw-dropping images of the Milky Way screaming down towards the horizon is the preserve of professional photographers, right? They might like you to think that, but once you’ve got a handle on what's required and the settings you need, you will soon discover that night sky photography – like any form of landscape photography – is mostly about you, not your camera equipment (that said, even the best camera phone isn't going to cut it here, we're afraid).

Finding Dark Sky Parks and dark skies around the world, and getting yourself to them, is half the job, but once you're there, you will need a basic level of equipment to take advantage of any clear nights; a DSLR camera, wide-angle (fish-eye) lens, and a tripod. You'll probably also want a good camera bag, too. None of this gear is particularly complicated, and it needn't be expensive, though like any photographic niche, you can spend as little or as much as you want. Here are some tips on great products for beginners to night sky photography, plus a few step-up products so you can see where your future may lie. We've also outlined some tips on how to get started in astrophotography (skip straight to the tips here).

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Jamie is a freelance journalist, copywriter and author with 20 years' experience. He writes primarily about travel, technology, science and nature.