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Tutorials

These Astrophotography tutorials are designed to help you take your photography and image processing skills to the next level. You will find tips for producing images like the ones in my photo gallery that were collected using a camera and telescope. You’ll also find powerful image acquisition techniques, best practices in the field, and advanced image processing techniques to continue pushing your progress forward.

 Combined with the useful resources mentioned below, the astrophotography tutorials found on this website can help you effectively photograph deep-sky objects from your own backyard. The tutorials covering Milky Way photography and wide-angle shots are there for amateur astrophotographers who prefer to capture impressive landscape night photography scenes.

astrophotography images

In 2019, I published a premium imaging processing guide. This PDF document walks you through the techniques I use in Photoshop when processing deep sky objects captured in my backyard.

I have used several different types of cameras for astrophotography over the years, but the following tutorials will be most useful to those who shoot with a DSLR camera through a telescope.

Recommended Processing Software:

100 best astrophotography targets

Astrophotography Tutorials

A lot of people ask me how I capture and automate my imaging sequence for a night of astrophotography. I have found Astro Photography Tool (APT) to be a great software choice for those looking to take pictures through a telescope. In the following video, I’ll walk you through the process of taking pictures using APT, and autoguiding with PHD2 Guiding. 

 

How to Polar Align Your Telescope Mount

Polar alignment is crucial for a sharp image.  In this tutorial, I discuss how to align your German equatorial telescope mount with the north celestial pole. A telescope mount that has been polar aligned allows you to take long exposure images that are free of star-trailing.

astrophotography tutorial

 

Deep Sky Stacker Settings for Astrophotography

Stacking and registering your images is an important part of the astrophotography image processing stage. I’ll show you the Deep Sky Stacker settings I use to produce images with an improved signal-to-noise ratio.

Deep sky stacker settings

 

How to take pictures of the moon

In this tutorial, I share my camera settings and tips for moon photography. Whether you’re shooting a with a camera lens on a tripod or through a telescope, these helpful tips and tricks will help you capture the moon in all its glory.

moon photography

 

Deep Sky Processing with Adobe Photoshop

Use DeepSkyStacker and Adobe Photoshop to turn your RAW image frames into a finished astrophoto.  In this tutorial, I process the Lagoon Nebula using Adobe Photoshop actions from the Astronomy Tools Action Set. (Noel Carboni’s Tools)

Deep sky processing tutorial

How to Photograph the Milky Way

In this tutorial, I share my best tips for photographing the Milky Way with your DSLR camera and lens. Whether you’re using a beginner-level camera and tripod, or a star tracker and ultra-wide angle lens, these camera settings and processing tips will help you create your best image of our galaxy yet.

how to photograph the milky way

Star Removal in Photoshop

Removing the stars from your astrophotography images can be useful for isolating areas containing nebulae.  Use this image processing tip to pull out the details of your deep sky object without blowing out the stars in the image.

star removal in photoshop

How to Align Your Astrophotos in Photoshop

The process of scaling, rotating and aligning astrophotography images is a technique you will use time and time again. This tutorial explains the importance of retaining image scale and resolution, so that you can continue to improve your images by combining new data.

how to align astrophotography images in Photoshop

How to Manually Stack Exposures in Photoshop

This technique is great for improving short exposure landscape astrophotography images without a tracking mount.  By manually aligning and stacking multiple exposures in Photoshop, you can reduce noise and improve the signal-to-noise ratio.

Manually stack exposures

 

How to Create a HaRGB Composite Image in Adobe Photoshop

Since I started adding H-Alpha to my astrophotography images, a lot of amateur astrophotographers have asked me how to combine the Ha exposures with the regular color (RGB) photos. This tutorial shows you how I process each image and blend them together to create a HaRGB composite in Photoshop.

 

HaRGB Astrophotography tutorial

 

How to use a Bahtinov Mask for better focus

Achieving a sharp focus in an essential part of a successful imaging session. With the use of methods such as Live View and FWHM in BackyardEOS, we can consistently reach optimum focus on our astrophotography subjects.  In this tutorial, I discuss the use of a Bahtinov focus mask – that is designed to help you reach a sharp focus quickly and easily.

How to use bahtinov focus mask

 

How to Polar Align using SharpCap

SharpCap Pro has a great feature that can improve the accuracy of your Polar Alignment. Using this function with your autoguiding camera can align the RA axis of your mount with the North Celestial Pole.

Polar Align in SharpCap Pro

How to Take Flat Frames

Flat frames can make a world of difference to your astrophotography images. It only takes a few minutes to take a successful flat frame using the “white t-shirt method” with your DSLR camera.

How to take flat frames

How to Take Dark Frames

Dark frame subtraction is the process of isolating and reducing digital noise in your images. These calibration files are easy to capture, yet must be collected properly to be effective. This tutorial explains what dark frames do, and how to capture them with your camera.

dark frame tutorial

Andromeda Galaxy Image Processing Tutorial

In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to use DeepSkyStacker and Adobe Photoshop to produce an unforgettable image of the Andromeda Galaxy. The image was created using color images from a Canon 60Da DSLR camera and a small telescope. 

Andromeda Galaxy Tutorial

5 Ways to improve you DSLR Astrophotography

If you have started to take deep-sky images with your DSLR, and you have questions about polar alignment, telescope balance or shooting dark frames, then the following guide can help you out.  I have also created a video on the subject that will highlight these key elements of capturing better images through your telescope.