WORKSHOP: How to Shoot & Process



Digital “single-lens-reflex” (DSLR) cameras are the ideal choice for anyone getting into astrophotography. They are capable of providing publication-quality deep-sky images, without forcing you to climb the steep learning curve demanded by specialized CCD cameras.


In this 4.5-hour workshop, I take participants through the steps for getting those great photos, from selecting a DSLR camera, to processing the final image. The emphasis is on shooting deep-sky images (the Milky Way, nebulas, star clusters) with both piggyback methods using camera lenses and with prime focus techniques through a telescope.


For those who do not own a DSLR camera or a telescope system now, this Workshop will help them choose and use the right gear and software. For those who are taking images now but are wondering why their results don’t look as good as the images they see others publish, this Workshop should teach them the reasons!


The Workshop covers ...


  • how to select a DSLR camera
  • the merits of APS vs. full-frame sensors
  • the merits of stock vs. filter-modified cameras
  • how to select lenses and the best accessories
  • how to select the best telescope and mount for deep-sky photography
  • how to connect your camera to your telescope
  • how to set your DSLR for maximum performance and minimum noise
  • the hardware & software options for controlling your camera
  • how to focus and find targets
  • which filters are useful
  • use of focal reducers and field flatteners with telescopes
  • what exposures to use and how best to autoguide long exposures
  • how to take and apply dark frames
  • how to stack images to reduce noise
  • the advantages to shooting in Raw format
  • how to process Raw images


Specific examples and test results are included to demonstrate that the received wisdom for using DSLRs isn’t necessarily correct. The emphasis will be on methods that simplify the capturing and processing of images as much as possible without sacrificing image quality.


We finish off by stacking and processing a set of deep-sky images from Raw frames through to a final publication-quality master image, with a recommended “non-destructive” workflow using only Adobe Photoshop CC and Adobe Camera Raw v8, demonstrating ...


  • lens correction routines for flattening images
  • noise reduction filters and plug-ins
  • use of smart objects and smart filters
  • adjustment layers and selective masking and ...
  • Photoshop's little known but powerful functions for stacking, aligning and blending/combining images


What the Workshop does NOT cover:


  • We will not be dealing with planetary webcams or cooled CCD cameras, nor the specialized software needed to process images from those cameras, such as Registax, CCDStack, ImagesPlus, PixInsight or Maxim DL. The Workshop reviews a workflow using just Photoshop.
  • We will not be dealing with assembly of colour images from filtered monochrome images from CCD cameras.
  • We will cover only briefly the use of other popular free or low-cost software programs such as Deep Sky Stacker and Nebulosity.



See for details on:

• our 4-hour "Nightscapes and Time-Lapse" Video Course

• and our new 9-hour "Deep Sky with Your DSLR" Video Course