Best Astrophotography Books [2021]

We present here our list of the best astrophotography books to help you learn how to shoot the stars and other astronomical objects.

Some would suit absolute beginners, whilst others are for intermediate or advanced astrophotographers.

There is also a second section of the best space photography books that are less educational and more inspirational. Enjoy!

*This website makes money through affiliate commissions. This means we may be compensated if you click links on this page at no extra cost to you.


Best Astrophotography Books

These books are for those looking to learn astrophotography as a beginner, or advance their skills if already a practicioner.

They tend to either focus on landscape astrophotography with a DSLR or mirrorless camera, or deep sky or planetary photography with a dedicated astronomy camera, but some (like the first two in this list) cover both.

Astronomy Photographer of the Year: Collection 10 (2021)

Astronomy Photographer of the Year: Collection 10

The Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition is the most prestigious astrophotography competition in the world.

Every year over 100 images are shortlisted in various categories and these showcase the best of modern astrophotography.

This could easily be in our list below of the best space photography books, but the reason why it makes a great book for those looking to advance their astrophotography skills and knowledge is that each image features details of the equipment used by the photographer and some insight into how the images were taken.

You can really learn from this on what cameras, telescopes, mounts, and lenses are being successfully used today, as well as the planning, settings, and techniques used. (We have actually done a detailed analysis of the equipment used in all 400+ shortlisted images in the competition in the past three years – see here).

In addition to the educational aspects, this makes a beautiful book to have around the house showcasing the best contemporary landscape and deep-sky astrophotography.

Astrophotography by Theirry Legault

best astrophotography books

Thierry Legault is a world-renowned astrophotographer and in his book, Astrophotography, he provides a comprehensive overview of all different types of astrophotography – from the moon and planets, to the Milky Way, and far off galaxies and other deep-sky objects.

It includes guides on how to select the best equipment and covers DLSR and dedicated astronomy cameras. It also covers advanced techniques using telescopes and post-production of images.

This book is perfect for a beginner or for someone that already has some astrophotography experience and is looking to take it further.

Night Sky Photography: From First Principles to Professional Results

Night Sky Photography: From First Principles to Professional Results

Newly released in 2021, this book focuses on landscape astrophotography and capturing images of the stars and milky way above the earth (among other things).

It’s a great beginners’ guide to night sky photography and fully up-to-date in 2021 in terms of equipment and techniques.

Capturing the Universe: A Photographer’s Guide to Deep-Sky Imaging

Capturing the Universe: A Photographer’s Guide to Deep-Sky Imaging

Released in July 2020, this is the latest astrophotography book from Chris Woodhouse, updating his very popular Astrophotography Manual from 2017.

The book is aimed at beginners wanting to progress from regular photography to deep sky photography and covers all that you need to know regarding equipment and techniques.

Night Photography and Light Painting

Night Photography book

This is the second edition, released in 2017, of Night Photography and Light Painting: Finding Your Way in the Dark by Lance Keimig.

This is a big, meaty book that covers many aspects of night sky photography and would suit a beginner or intermediate alike.

The New CCD Astronomy

The New CCD Astronomy: How to capture the stars with a CCD camera in your own backyard.

This book is recommended by deep-sky astrophotographer Ken Crawford in an interview with him we did here on how he captures far-off nebulae.

The New CCD Astronomy: How to capture the stars with a CCD camera in your own backyard by Ron Wodaski was written in 2002. It’s therefore fairly dated but many deep-sky imagers swear by it as being one of the best overviews of imaging with dedicated astronomy cameras.

The book is focused on deep-sky astrophotography with a CCD camera and a telescope and so is for advanced astrophotographers.

Photography: Night Sky – A Field Guide for Shooting after Dark

beginners astrophotography books

Another good overview for beginners and would suit someone with a DLSR or mirrorless to play around with shooting the night sky.

Written by Jennifer Wu & James Martin in 2014, this book focuses on the basics of night sky photography, covering the Milky Way, star trails, and the moon, as well as general landscape photography in low-light.

Getting Started: Budget Astrophotography

Astrophotography books for beginners

This book is a great introduction that would suit beginners and those that already have some knowledge but are looking to learn more.

Written by Allan Hall in 2014, its focus is on taking great astrophotography images without having to spend a fortune on gear.

It includes a number of projects to try that would work with basic cameras or even smartphone cameras and so makes a good starting point for those that want to learn more before deciding whether or not they need more equipment that might be expensive.

Dusk to Dawn: A Guide to Landscape Photography at Night

Dusk to Dawn: A Guide to Landscape Photography at Night

Written in 2018 by photography Glenn Randall, this is another book focused on landscape imaging.

It is less “astrophotography” and more shooting at night with a DSLR/mirrorless camera, but the lines between these are blurry, especially for landscape astronomy photography.

The 100 Best Astrophotography Targets

The 100 Best Astrophotography Targets: A Monthly Guide for CCD Imaging with Amateur Telescopes (The Patrick Moore Practical Astronomy Series)

The 100 Best Astrophotography Targets: A Monthly Guide for CCD Imaging with Amateur Telescopes is part of the Patrick Moore Practical Astronomy Series of books.

This book focuses on what objects to image at any given time of the year for northern hemisphere skies and answers the question “what’s in the sky tonight for me to photograph?”.

It’s targeted at people with telescopes and dedicated astronomy cameras looking for deep sky objects.

Digital SLR Astrophotography

Digital SLR Astrophotography (Practical Amateur Astronomy)

This is the second edition of Michael Covington’s DSLR Astrophotography book, released in 2018.

As the name suggests, this book is for photographers with a DSLR (or mirrorless) camera looking to photograph the stars and objects in space.

The Complete Guide to Landscape Astrophotography

The Complete Guide to Landscape Astrophotography: Understanding, Planning, Creating, and Processing Nightscape Images

This is a comprehensive overview of landscape astrophotography that covers planning, composing and post-processing.

It covers photographing star trails and other aspects and is a great guide to all you need to know to advance your skills in this area.

Astrophotography is Easy! Basics for Beginners

Astrophotography is Easy!: Basics for Beginners (The Patrick Moore Practical Astronomy Series)

Helpfully recommended by the author Greg Redfern in the comments of this article!

This is a great introduction to astrophotography for a beginner and part of the Patrick Moore Practical Astronomy Series of books.


Best Space Photography Books

These are books that showcase the greatest images of space and astronomical objects.

Earth and Space: Photographs from the Archives of NASA

NASA images books

This well-presented book would make for a perfect gift for someone that is into NASA and space exploration.

It is a collection of some of NASA’s most amazing photographs from across the cosmos.

The Hubble Cosmos: 25 Years of New Vistas in Space

Hubble images books

This National Geographic book tells the story of the Hubble Space Telescope and showcases more than 150 of the greatest images sent back in its first 25 years in space.

You Are Here: Around the World in 92 Minutes: Photographs from the ISS

You Are Here: Around the World in 92 Minutes

This book is written by International Space Station astronaut, Chris Hadfield who orbited the Earth 2,597 times in the ISS and took over 45,000 photos of the Earth!

Not technically pictures of space, but rather pictures of the Earth from space that give an amazing perspective of the different continents, oceans and everything else.

Visual Galaxy: The Ultimate Guide to the Milky Way and Beyond

Visual Galaxy: The Ultimate Guide to the Milky Way and Beyond

Another National Geographic book, this one explores our galaxy, the Milky Way and our place within it, and its place within the Cosmos.

Moon: Photographing the Moon 1840-Now

Moon: Photographing the Moon 1840-Now

This is a historical astrophotography book that delves into the history and development of photographing the moon in the past 150+ years.

Hubble’s Universe: Greatest Discoveries and Latest Images

Hubble's Universe: Greatest Discoveries and Latest Images

Released in 2017, this is a more up-to-date collection of over 300 of the Hubble Telescope’s greatest images.

Sun and Moon: A Story of Astronomy, Photography and Cartography

Sun and Moon: A Story of Astronomy, Photography and Cartography

This books presents a history of photographing the sun and the moon.

Expanding Universe. The Hubble Space Telescope

Expanding Universe. The Hubble Space Telescope

Another coffee table book showcasing the best images of Hubble.

Capturing the Universe

Astrophotography image books

Released in 2019, this is a classic ‘coffee table book’ that you’d have lying around to go through at your leisure. 


What’s Your Favorite Astrophotography Book?

Ask pretty much any successful astrophotographer what the best way to learn is, and they will pretty much all say “just get out there and try”.

Whilst there is no substitute to taking action and learning from your mistakes, this should be balanced with learning from others that know more than you and can help make that time dedicated to taking pictures more productive.

One of the best value ways to learn is through reading books written by the experts.

A good book will often take you deeper than, say, reading a blog post (which we often just scan) and can be much cheaper in comparison to taking online courses or receiving in-person tuition, for example.

The above brings together a wide range of some of the best astrophotography books available. From great guides for beginners to advanced photographers, and also inspirational collections of the best images in the world.

If you have any suggestions of must-read books on astrophotography then please share your recommendations in the comments below.

If you are interested in books about astronomy and space, then see here as well as gift ideas this holiday season in our Sales & Gifts Hub.

.

3 thoughts on “Best Astrophotography Books [2021]”

  1. My 2018 book “Cruise Ship Astronomy and Astrophotography” is the first ever written on the subject.

    It is a must read for those who are going on a cruise ship and want to take pictures of the sea and sky that no landlubber can ever duplicate.

    Reply
  2. “Astrophotography is Easy! Basics for Beginners” was written by me for the absolute beginner in astrophotography. The book covers all astrophotography aspects for beginners and Ch. 23 provides a wealth of references that can be accessed online for those who buy the book.
    “Astrophotography is Easy! Basics for Beginners” has favorable reviews by Sky and Telescope and Physics Today magazines.
    It is available in paperback and Kindle.

    Reply

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.