Welcome to Astrophotography 101: A Lesson Series on Photographing the Milky Way by Lonely Speck’s creators Ian Norman and Diana Southern.
Just getting started?
What is Astrophotography 101?
Astrophotography 101 is a class for everyone. It is series of online posts and video lessons on how to photograph the Milky Way without expensive equipment. If you already own a digital SLR and a tripod, you already have the most expensive things you’ll need for these lessons. We’ll cover everything that you will need to make your very first astrophotos, and then we’ll dive deeper into the finer (and funner) techniques to make some truly amazing photographs.
Building from our original How to Photograph the Milky Way post, Astrophotography 101 will provide a more complete and detailed guide on astrophotography with a special emphasis on helping beginners and seasoned photographers alike.
Astrophotography 101 is a work in progress. Lessons that are currently available can be accessed via the links below, and new lessons will be sent out to Lonely Speck subscribers as they become available.
The lessons are listed in no particular order but are categorized into sections — Inspiration, Equipment, Shooting, Post Processing, and Advanced Topics — so that you can learn more about the subjects that interest you most.
Lessons will also be updated over time with new and refreshed content to improve the learning experience. We’re also open to suggestions: if there’s something that you want us to write about or show you, tell us in the comments below or email us and we’ll try to add it to the list.
We hope you enjoy learning how to photograph the Milky Way with us!
- On Photographing the Milky Way
- On Location: New Zealand – Lens Choices and Location Scouting
- B&H Photo Podcast – Shooting the Stars
- 8 Things I Learned About Astrophotography in 2015
- Photog Adventures Podcast – Light Pollution, Panoramas and Timelapse
- Photographing the Milky Way on Film
- 2016 Lonely Speck Meetup Recap
- A Beginner Astrophotography Kit
- How to Pick a Lens for Milky Way Photography
- Large Sensor Cameras with Built-In Intervalometers
- Lonely Speck’s Ultimate List of Best Lenses for Astrophotography
- Critical Focus at Night with the SharpStar2
- What’s in my Bag: Trona Pinnacles
- Hoya Red Intensifier: An Affordable Light Pollution Filter
- Tripods and Mounts for Astrophotography (Coming Soon)
- Intervalometers for Astrophotographers (Coming Soon)
- Essential Apps for Astrophotography (Coming Soon)
- How to Find the Milky Way
- How to Photograph the Milky Way
- A Milky Way Exposure Calculator
- Shooting with a 50mm Lens: Panorama Stitching
- Photographing the Milky Way with a Smartphone
- Shooting Defocused Star Trails
- Star Trails and Moonlit Landscapes
- Focusing at Night
- Photographing the Milky Way from an Airplane
- Escaping Light Pollution (Coming Soon)
- Deep Sky Objects (Coming Soon)
- Processing Milky Way Photography in Adobe Lightroom
- Photographing and Processing the Constellation Orion: Image Stacking and LRGB Processing
- Film Speck One: 102 Free Lightroom Presets
- Medium Format Astrophotography with Panorama Stitching
- Motion Timelapse of the Milky Way
- Astrophotography Stacking for Noise Reduction
- Advanced Milky Way Exposure Stacking for Noise Reduction with Manual Alignment
- Star Trail Exposure Stacking and Moonlit Landscapes
- Removing Coma Aberration
- Noise-Free Astrophotography with Starry Landscape Stacker
- Stacked Astrophotography Panoramas
- Motion Timelapse of the Milky Way
- A Practical Guide to Lens Aberrations and the Lonely Speck Aberration Test
- Shooting in Light Pollution: Expose to the Right
- Star Trails and Moonlit Landscapes
- How to Find the Best ISO for Astrophotography: Dynamic Range and Noise
- Advanced Shutter Time Calculator (NEW!)
- Field of View and Lens Focal Length (Coming Soon)
- Aperture and Signal to Noise Ratio (Coming Soon)
- Understanding the Histogram (Coming Soon)
- Capturing the Color of the Night (Coming Soon)
- Light Painting Stacking (Coming Soon)
- Tracking the Stars (Coming Soon)
Astrophotography 101 is completely free for everyone. All of the lessons will live here on Lonely Speck for you to access at any time. Enter your email and whenever we post a new lesson you’ll receive it in your inbox. We won’t spam you and your email will stay secure. Furthermore, updates will be sent out only periodically, less than once per week.
What is Astrophotography?
There are many different genres of photography. Portrait photography, street photography, landscape, nature, macro… the list goes on. If portrait photography is the art of making photos of people, astrophotography is the art of making photos of the night sky. Astrophotography isn’t a new genre of photography, but until recently it has been a rather obscure one. It used to be confined to a subset of the astronomy community, so when most people think of astrophotography, they used to think of a camera pointed through an expensive telescope, maybe on a computer controlled mount with an autoguider, and hours and hours of exposure data. It used to be a form of photography that was only possible with expensive equipment and technical expertise.
Now astrophotography is more accessible than ever. The technology has improved, the equipment is cheaper and the community has grown. To get started all you really need is a decent digital camera with manual controls and a tripod. Making your first images of the Milky Way may forever change the way you look at photography and the universe around you. Astrophotography is about capturing the beauty of the vast and mysterious universe we are a part of from the comfort of the precious planet that we all share.
Few experiences have impacted our lives as much as astrophotography, and we want to share a little bit of that experience with you here.
Astrophotography 101 works both ways. We hope to hear from you as much as you from us. If you want a critique on your shot or wish to share your results, have a question or want to suggest something, you can check out the small (but growing) Lonely Speck Flickr Group where other photographers like you can share and learn from each other. There are already some amazing photographs in the community, all that’s missing are yours!
If you have a general comment about the class, feel free to throw it in the comments below.
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. We are also a participant in the B&H Affiliate Program which also allows us to earn fees by linking to bhphotovideo.com.
Help us help you!
Believe it or not, Lonely Speck is my full-time job. It’s been an amazing experience for us to see a community develop around learning astrophotography and we’re so happy to be a small part of it. I have learned that amazing things happen when you ask for help so remember that we are always here for you. If you have any questions about photography or just want to share a story, contact us! If you find the articles here helpful, consider helping us out with a donation.Donate
Thanks so much for being a part of our astrophotography adventure.