Astrophotography for Beginners

Astrofotografie voor Beginners

The majestic beauty of planets has always had an enchanting appeal to humans. Whether you want to capture the rings of Saturn, the red hue of Mars, or the dancing moons of Jupiter, astrophotography provides a window to experience these wonders up close. In this guide you will learn how to photograph the planets in our solar system. Without further ado, let's begin this fascinating journey of planetary photography!

1. Choosing the Right Equipment; Telescopes, Camera and Mounting

  • Telescope: The heart of any astrophotography setup is the telescope. A good telescope is essential for capturing the fine details of distant planets. Although there are several types of telescopes available, reflector telescopes are often recommended for their ability to collect a large amount of light. When choosing a telescope, it is also important to consider the brand and specifications., for example, offers a range of telescopes specifically designed for both beginner and advanced astrophotographers. Their precise optics and robust build quality ensure clear and sharp images of planets. Try the Vultus quiz to see which telescope suits you best.
  • Camera: The choice of your camera is as crucial as the telescope. For planetary photography there are specific requirements that a camera must meet. A dedicated astro camera or a custom DSLR camera are ideal, as they are optimized for the unique challenges of astrophotography. They have sensitive sensors tuned for long exposures, and advanced noise reduction technologies that ensure clear shots even in low-light conditions.
  • Mounting: The motion of the Earth can pose a major challenge when photographing distant objects in space. To compensate for this movement and ensure that your target remains stable in view, a motorized equatorial mount is required. These mounts accurately track the rotation of the Earth, allowing you to take long exposures without motion blur. also offers a variety of mounts that fit seamlessly with their telescope range, ensuring an integrated and smooth astrophotography experience.

When investing in astrophotography equipment, it is important to consider quality and compatibility. offers a range of products specifically designed to work together, making it easier to capture breathtaking images of the universe.

2. Settings and Techniques

  • Focus: Make sure the planet is in focus. Many cameras offer 'live view' modes that can help with focusing.
  • Exposure: Planetary photography requires short exposure times. This is because planets are bright and can quickly overexpose the image.
  • Image sequence: Take a series of photos or videos instead of one photo. Software can later stitch these images together to reduce noise and enhance details.

3. Process the Images

Astrophotography requires post-processing to achieve the best results. Use software like RegiStax or AutoStakkert to stack multiple images and reduce noise. You can then use programs such as Adobe Photoshop to optimize color, brightness and contrast.

4. Best Times and Locations

  • Time: A planet's "opposition" is the best time to photograph. This is when a planet is directly opposite the Sun from Earth and appears brightest.
  • Location: Avoid light pollution by shooting in locations far from city lights. Dark skies mean clearer planets!

5. Tips for Better Result

  • Practice: As with any form of photography, practice is key. Try different settings and techniques to see what works best for you.
  • Research: Stay informed about the movements and positions of planets using astronomical apps or websites.
  • Patience: Clouds, technical problems and other obstacles will inevitably come your way. Be patient and wait for the perfect moment.

6. Can I photograph planets with a standard camera and lens?

The universe has fascinated us since the beginning of time, and with the advent of modern photography techniques, the desire to capture these distant worlds has only increased. Many people wonder if they can photograph those beautiful celestial bodies with their standard camera and lens.

In principle the answer is yes, but with some caveats.

The brighter planets such as Venus, Jupiter and Mars are visible to the naked eye under favorable conditions. With a standard camera, especially one with a good sensor and a reasonable telephoto lens, these planets can be captured as bright dots. The results can be surprising, especially on clear, cloudless evenings.

However, if you want detailed images of planets – think Jupiter's belts or Mars' ice caps – you'll run into the limitations of a standard lens. These details are so small and subtle that they require the magnifying power of a telescope to be clearly visible. View our telescopes to find a suitable telescope.

Even with a telescope there are challenges. Earth's atmosphere can distort the image, and the Earth's rotation can quickly move the subject out of view. To overcome these problems, many astrophotographers use special mounts that track the Earth's rotation, as well as advanced techniques such as image stacking, which combines multiple photos to reduce noise and enhance detail.

However, for the amateur photographer who just wants to catch a glimpse of these distant worlds, a standard camera combined with a little patience and technique can still produce satisfying results. Find a dark place, avoid light pollution, use a sturdy tripod and experiment with different settings. The universe is waiting for you to discover it!


Planetary astrophotography is both an art and a science. As you learn the technical aspects of your equipment and software, don't forget to enjoy the wonder of the universe and the beauty of the planets. With patience, the right equipment and a little knowledge, you too can capture and share the enchanting world of the planets. Point your lens to the stars and begin your astrophotography adventure!