Is astrophotography hard? Well honestly, it depends.
Seriously though, if you want to be an astrophotographer you need to be so many things. I don’t say this to put anyone off, just to set expectations going in. This is hobby is hard but it’s equally so rewarding. When you get it right the universe will repay you 10-fold – I promise.
Why is Astrophotography Hard?
First of all, you need to have a lot of money – I joke but this is kinda true. There’s just SO MUCH to learn…
You need to understand how tracking mounts work, how to polar align, how your camera works and what settings to use, what type of light pollution you have, how to power your equipment safely, how to actually put a full rig together, how to connect to all of your equipment, what software you’re going to use…and that’s before you’ve even taken a single image!
After that you then need to understand calibration frames and how to take them, how to stack all your images, and how to process your images into something that actually looks like the object you’ve spent hours imaging.
Don’t worry, there’s lots of resources on my website to help with this, and also lots of useful videos on my YouTube channel to help you get started.
Isn’t there an Easier Way?
Of course that list is largely focused on deep sky imaging, or certainly setups with a laptop or PC. You can start out much simpler than that by just using a camera and a tripod, or even your smartphone.
Each type of photography is different and astrophotography is no different. It has its own unique challenges…looking at you clouds. But when you see your first subs rolling in on the back of your camera or your laptop screen, or when you perform that first curve stretch in post-processing you know you’ve created something pretty special that very few people will ever do.
There’s nothing quite like a night under the stars, in this age where everyone is too busy and our planet is a bit messed up…in several ways, taking a moment to gaze at the stars can be very grounding and very relaxing. It’s a chance to switch off and think about something bigger than yourself, which opens up a whole new perspective on life.
Progress Takes Time
I’ve been doing astrophotography for several years now, and when I first started out, my images weren’t great. I struggled with polar alignment and I just didn’t quite understand how to process my images properly. However, with lots of practice, patience and persistence, things started to click.
Don’t expect to be competing with the best astrophotographers out there straight away. They’ve been doing it for years and generally have lots of expensive equipment to go with it. Go at your own pace, and just enjoy it. After all, that’s what a hobby is all about.
The Bigger Picture
Astrophotography, I think, takes that perspective to the next level by capturing images of a distant nebula or galaxy that could be thousands of light years across, or millions of light years away. It really is worth spending the time looking at the detail of what you’ve captured.
So is astrophotography hard? Yes, but I think anyone in this hobby would tell you it is 100% worth it.
I’m not really sure what I wanted to achieve with this post, but I hope it’s inspired a few people to get into the hobby, or dust off their existing equipment and get back out there!
I’ve thrown a lot of information out there, if you need answers to some of those things then I have a video on all of those topics I’ve covered so head on over to my channel and have a look. While you’re there do consider subscribing as it genuinely helps out the channel.