Tips & tricks from Astrophotographer Luke Vadekar
Have you ever looked up into the night sky & been captivated by the beauty & vastness of the galaxy? For astrophotographer Luke Vedakker, that exact moment sparked a creative passion inside him. It ultimately led him down a career path, of which he is now sharing the secrets for Neighbourhood Media readers.
We last spoke with Luke back in 2020, when we were all searching for new hobbies. For Luke, that year was the formal beginning of his photography career as he completed his Diploma Of Photography. Before completing that course, Luke was entirely self-taught through simple trial & error from a very young age. Reflecting on the course, Luke described it as “really intensive” but also incredibly beneficial.
“The course taught me so much & really helped me develop as a photographer,” Luke explained further. “The biggest things I took away from the course were the rule of thirds, composition & portrait photography.”
Unfamiliar with the “rule of thirds” we asked Luke to explain this more.
“The rule of thirds is a composition guideline that places your subject in the left or right third of an image, which leaves the other two-thirds open thus helping frame the subject.”
Given Luke’s experience, we wanted to pick his brain to help our readers capture better photos of their own as we come into the festive season. Below are Luke’s top tips for aspiring photographers.
1. JUST TAKE PHOTOS
The biggest piece of advice Luke can give anybody is to not worry about your equipment. Instead, he says to use whatever camera you have at hand, whether that’s an old family camera or simply your phone.
“Since phones are so advanced these days, I would absolutely recommend starting off using a phone. Then once you’ve got a bit more experience you can upgrade to an entry-level camera like the Sony A6000 or A6400.”
2. ALWAYS SHOOT IN RAW FORMAT
Luke’s second piece of advice is a little more technical but one which he says can have a dramatic impact on your photos.
“I always recommend people shoot in the RAW format because it means that the camera or phone is capturing uncompressed data from the lens & sensor. By doing this you can bring out the full potential of your images during processing & editing in programs like Lightroom or Photoshop Express.”
If you want to follow in Luke’s footsteps & capture images of the night sky, you’ll need to invest in some extra equipment.
Firstly, Luke suggests purchasing a zoom lens or a dedicated telescope. DON’T just use the zoom function on your phone for this one. A lot of people probably found this out the hard way when trying to capture the recent Blood Moon over Sydney.
Also, while not a necessity, Luke highly recommends a “star-tracking” mount for your camera. This will compensate for the rotation of the Earth & prevent your images from being filled with “star trails” as the stars move through the sky above.
Finally, much like the real estate agents always say, it all comes down to location, location location! According to Luke, the best place to capture astrophotography is Palm Beach.
“You can't go past Palm Beach, it has really wide open spaces & a spectacular lighthouse. I’ve captured some of my best, most popular images there. In & around the North Shore though, people can definitely take advantage of the natural surroundings such as the local National Parks which provide a heap of potential photography subjects.”