top of page

Stargazing with a Camera: An Introduction to Astrophotography

Fujifilm X-T3, Laowa 9mm f/2.8, ISO3200, f/2.8, 25 seconds

Are you interested in capturing the beauty of the night sky with your camera? Night landscape photography is a unique and fascinating genre that combines the technical aspects of photography with the wonders of the night sky. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced photographer, this guide will help you get started with astrophotography.

Fujifilm X-T3, Fujinon 16mm f/1.4, ISO1600, f/1.8, 15 seconds

Understanding the Basics

The first step in photographing the night sky is to understand the basics of exposure and how it works at night. Exposure refers to the amount of light that reaches your camera's sensor, and it's controlled by three factors: aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. Aperture controls the amount of light that enters the camera, shutter speed controls the amount of time that light is allowed to enter the camera, and ISO controls the camera's sensitivity to light.

To take photos of the night sky, you will need to adjust these settings to allow enough light to reach your camera's sensor. A good starting point is an aperture of f/2.8 (f/4 if you are limited), a shutter speed of 15-30 seconds, and an ISO of 1600-6400.

Fujifilm X-T3, Fujinon 16mm f/1.4, ISO1600, f/1.8, 15 seconds (7 images stitched panoramic)

Essential Gear for Astrophotography

Aside from a mirrorless or DSLR camera, there are several essential pieces of gear that you will need to take great night sky photos. A wide angle lens is ideal for astrophotography. Preferably one that opens to f/2.8 or lower, but a lens that is limited to an aperture of f/4 is also capable. A tripod is essential for keeping your camera steady during long exposures, and a remote shutter release can help you take photos without touching the camera and causing blur. A headlamp or flashlight is also useful for navigating in the dark. Don’t forget the gloves, beanie snacks and coffee to keep you warm in the cold.

Fujifilm X-T3, Fujinon 8-16mm f/2.8, ISO3200, f/2.8, 25 seconds

Choosing the Right Location

One of the keys to great night sky photography is choosing the right location. You will want to find a place with a clear view of the night sky that is free from light pollution. National parks, dark sky reserves, and rural areas are great options for astrophotography (always make sure that your surroundings are safe).

It's also important to consider the foreground elements in your photos. A well-composed photo will have interesting foreground elements that help to balance the photo and draw the viewer's eye into the night sky.

Some great locations in South Africa include many parts of the Cederberg and Karoo regions.

Fujifilm X-T3, Fujinon 16mm f/1.4, ISO1600, f/1.8, 15 seconds (4 images stitched panoramic)

Shooting Techniques for Night Landscape Photography

Once you've chosen your location and set up your gear, it's time to start taking photos. Here are some tips to help you get started:

Use a wide-angle lens to capture as much of the night sky as possible.

Take photos in RAW format to give you more control over the final image.

Use manual focus and focus on a bright star to ensure that your stars are in focus (Pro Tip: turn on the focus peaking setting on your mirrorless camera to easily see in and out of focus areas of you composition.

Experiment with different shutter speeds and ISO settings to find the right balance between star trailing and noise.

Fujifilm X-T3, Fujinon 16mm f/1.4, ISO1600, f/1.6, 15 seconds

Post-Processing Your Night Sky Photos

Post-processing is an essential part of astrophotography, as it allows you to enhance the details in your photos and bring out the beauty of the night sky. Here are some tips for post-processing your night sky photos:

Use software like Lightroom or Photoshop to adjust the exposure, contrast, and colour of your photos.

Adjust the clarity and sharpness of your photos to bring out the details in the stars and Milky Way.

Fujifilm X-T3, Laowa 9mm f/2.8, ISO3200, f/2.8, 25 seconds


Astrophotography is a rewarding and challenging genre of photography that combines technical skills and creative vision. Start with these simple step and you will be well on your way to capturing out of this world photos of the night sky. So grab your camera, find a clear and dark location, and fire away!

Fujifilm X-T3, Laowa 9mm f/2.8, ISO3200, f/2.8, 20 seconds

16 views0 comments
bottom of page