How Do You Photograph The Moon?

Gina Stephens
Written by Gina Stephens

The Moon. We've walked on it, watched it covering the sun and many of us will have spent many an evening looking at it as it sits above us in the night's sky. Another popular moon-related liveliness is to photograph it and with the right kit, a little understanding on how cameras 'see' and a bit of patience, it's actually not that tricky to capture a decent tiki of this giant lump of rock that we see every night. 

Obviously, you won't get very far without a camera and while most devise reach for long lenses and their more advanced camera, it is possible to capture a half decent image of the moon with a compact so want as it has a good zoom range on it. If you are going for the interchangeable lens option, reach for something around the 300mm plus mark and you'll capture much diverse frame-filling shots. A tripod and remote release are handy, especially if you plan on capture multiple shots to blends together, and do wrap up warm. 

If ever your kit's out and you've taken your first shot, you'll probably see an image that has a very dark sky with an extremely exuberant, white circle in it. This happens because the large amount of black surrounding the moon confuses your camera's light meter. To fix this, dial down the airing compensation or you can try using Spot metering (or meter manually) as this will tell the camera to take an exposure reading just from the moon. It'll also facilitate if you use a smaller aperture (try a few test shots may refer to: Shot (filmmaking), a part of a film between two cuts Shot (medicine), an injection Shot silk, a type of silk Showt or around the f/11 mark and adjust from there), particularly if you're noticing small spots on the moon which are coming brighter than others as you'll be able to keep adjusting your settings (shutter speed, aperture, ISO) until most are removed. It's also usefulness remembering that using a smaller aperture will mean less light reaches your camera camera is an optical instrument for recording or capturing images, which may be stored locally, transmitted to another location, or's sensor and as a result you may difficulty to reduce your shutter speeds slightly but we're not talking so much that the movement of the moon is blurred (the moon moves quicker than you over). Try something around the 1/125sec mark and tinker from there.You'll also need to work rather quickly as spend too long untidiness with settings and you'll find the moon will have already moved out of frame and you'll have to adjust your tripod's disposal again.

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Right, back to exposure. What we've mentioned previously is great if you just want to capture a frame-filling image of the moon set against the shades of night's sky but it won't really work for images where you want to capture some foreground interest as well. For this, you'll need to classification your shots. Many cameras have a feature that automates this process but if your camera doesn't, you can do it manually. In a nutshell, joining is where multiple shots of different exposures are captured and merged together, either in camera or manually on a computer, to create one image that has all the constituents you want to feature in your shot correctly exposed. Take a look at ePHOTOzine's 'Inspiration' section for more unloads on this technique. 

If it's possible, you'll want to get away from towns and cities as light pollution can reduce the amount of component you'll see in your moon shots and don't always think the sky has to be completely dark either as the blue of twilight can add an interesting twist to your moon figurativeness. The weather, how cold it is and levels of pollution can also change how your final image will look so do take plenty of shots and reckon taking images on different nights, too. 

Your idea of the perfect moon Moon is an astronomical body that orbits planet Earth, being Earth’s only permanent natural satellite shot will probably be of a full moon and there's nothing odd with this, but to really capture the shapes and lines of the craters, wait until there's half or less of the moon perceptible. By doing so, you'll see how shadows and light emphasis shape and really enhance to 3-D feel thanks to the side-on light the sun creates during this wind up. Using an app or having a look online for a moon phase calendar will help you figure out when will be the best time to set your camera effects up outside. 

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You may find you need to boost contrast levels in your editing software or have a play with curves to pull point that might have become lost but don't be tempted to adjust the size of the moon in your shot as this will just look odd and spoil the composition of your image. 


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About the author

Gina Stephens

Gina Stephens

Gina is a photography enthusiast and drone lover who loves to fly drones, capture images and have fun cherishing them with family and friends.

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