20 dos and don'ts for shooting the moon

In case you’ve ever tried capturing the moon, you’ve most likely found that it’s really a reasonably tough topic!

However don’t fear; there are some suggestions and strategies you should utilize to shortly enhance your moon pictures.

On this article, let’s take a look at some dos and don’ts to take your moon photographs from snapshots to gorgeous artwork.

city with rising mooncity with rising moon
The April moon, referred to as the “Pink Moon,” rising over Marietta, Ohio. The setting solar lit town with a heat glow.

1. Do use a tripod

One of many most necessary items of kit for capturing the moon is a good tripod.

Because the moon is so small, it is rather necessary to have a sturdy basis, as a result of even probably the most minute motion of the digicam will trigger your picture to blur. 

You may suppose that, for those who use a fast-enough shutter velocity, you possibly can handhold the digicam. However since your topic is so small within the body, even small actions will probably be exaggerated.

2. Don’t use a gradual shutter velocity

Whereas it’s a good suggestion to make use of a tripod, you should keep away from utilizing a gradual shutter velocity.


As a result of the moon is definitely transferring very shortly across the earth. The moon is so distant, it doesn’t look like touring very quick. However for those who let your shutter velocity calm down an excessive amount of, you’ll find yourself with all kinds of undesirable movement blur.

A superb rule of thumb for tack-sharp moon pictures is to shoot at 1/125s or quicker.

3. Do use a telephoto lens

To efficiently seize any type of element on the moon, you want at the very least a 300mm telephoto lens.

If you’d like the moon to take up your complete body, you will want round an 800mm lens.

shooting the moon with a telephoto lensshooting the moon with a telephoto lens

4. Don’t use any filters in your lens

To forestall any likelihood of a blurry picture, don’t use any filters.

Sure, even take away the UV filter. This will likely sound scary for those who by no means take away the UV filter out of your lens, however on this case, it’s greatest to set it apart.

Some might recommend utilizing a impartial density (ND) filter for moon pictures to chop again on the intense gentle of the moon. However all this can do is require a slower shutter velocity, and also you need to use the quickest shutter velocity potential to get that crisp, tack-sharp picture.

5. Do attempt the Looney 11 Rule

The Looney 11 Rule is just like the Sunny 16 Rule. It’s designed that can assist you publicity correctly when capturing the moon, whereas additionally making certain you get a fast-enough shutter velocity for sharp pictures.

Right here’s the way it works:

Set your f-stop to f/11.

Then match the shutter velocity to your ISO. 

For instance, in case your ISO is ready at 200, set your shutter velocity to 1/200s.

(This isn’t an actual science, but it surely ought to offer you place to begin.)

6. Don’t use the shutter button to begin your publicity

Don’t manually press the shutter button and even contact your tripod when initiating your moon shot.

Do not forget that even the slightest contact might add sufficient vibration to blur the picture.

As an alternative, use a cable launch or distant set off to begin your publicity. In case you don’t have both of those devices, use the self-timer characteristic in your digicam.

7. Do use mirror lock-up

In case you’re working with a DSLR and it has the choice, lock up your mirror. This will significantly enhance your possibilities of getting a tack-sharp moon picture.

You see, even the slightest shake of your digicam’s mirror could be sufficient to blur the shot. So in case your digicam has this feature, use it!

Lock the mirror up and wait just a few seconds to permit any vibrations to settle earlier than starting your publicity.

(In case your digicam doesn’t have a mirror lock-up possibility, you possibly can all the time shoot in Stay View, which may have the identical impact!)

8. Don’t use picture stabilization

Your lens’s (and digicam’s) picture stabilization expertise have to be turned off as quickly as you set your digicam on a tripod.

Turning on a picture stabilization characteristic together with your digicam mounted on a tripod will really create blur in your picture!

9. Do know the cycles of the moon

shooting the moon over a barnshooting the moon over a barn
Use The Photographer’s Ephemeris app to foretell the situation of the moonrise.

There are 29.5 days between full moons.

And by studying when the complete moon will come, you possibly can make sure you get the best-looking moon in your pictures!

There are lots of on-line and smartphone functions that may show you how to monitor the phases of the moon. One must-have app is The Photographer’s Ephemeris, which gives you the phases of the moon, and in addition present you when and the place the moon will seem within the sky.

That is particularly helpful when planning your moon shoots. The complete moon could be very in style and photogenic, but it surely’s additionally the brightest and probably the most troublesome to reveal appropriately.

The aspect lighting of a gibbous moon produces some attention-grabbing shadows which can mean you can seize craters and mountains. The crescent moon is, in fact, the darkest stage, however one that will provide some attention-grabbing results when added to a nighttime panorama.

10. Don’t all the time place the moon within the middle of the body

Placing the moon within the middle of the body – particularly if there’s nothing else within the shot – is boring.

It’s been carried out 1,000,000 instances earlier than. So attempt to put the moon off-center.

Oh, and ensure to incorporate different attention-grabbing objects within the body!

That’s the way you’ll find yourself with a very spectacular moon photograph.

moon photography with a foreground objectmoon photography with a foreground object
Don’t simply place the moon in an empty sky. Together with a foreground object will create a extra dramatic picture.

11. Do change to guide focus

There are a few completely different strategies you should utilize to concentrate on the moon.

First, attempt utilizing your digicam’s autofocus to make the moon tack sharp. Then, after you have a fascinating level of focus, flip off the autofocus and change to guide focus.

Alternatively, you can begin by setting your lens to guide focus. Together with your digicam’s Stay View characteristic turned on, zoom in on the moon and switch the guide focus ring till the moon turns into sharp. Then don’t contact the ring once more.

12. Don’t simply shoot the moon at evening

The perfect time to {photograph} the moon is simply after it rises or simply earlier than it units, when it’s low within the sky.

Why is that this necessary?

For one, when the moon is close to the horizon, it is going to seem bigger in your photographs (as a consequence of a trick of the attention).

Additionally, as the complete moon rises, the solar will probably be setting, and because the full moon units, the solar will probably be rising. This may give you nice lighting to intensify foreground objects.

Be aware that capturing the moon within the daytime (e.g., within the late afternoon) gives you the chance to incorporate foreground objects, and you may additionally be capable to seize some craters on the moon’s floor.

moon photography with a tree in the foregroundmoon photography with a tree in the foreground
The June full moon, referred to as the “Honey Moon,” captured because it units at dawn.

13. Do use publicity bracketing

After you have discovered an publicity that you simply’re pleased with, it’s greatest to bracket round that setting.

You see, the view of your photographs at nighttime, on the again of your digicam, can typically be deceiving. At the hours of darkness, photographs all the time seem brighter on the digicam LCD than they’re when opened in your laptop.

So after you’re happy with the publicity you will have dialed in, bracket two stops underneath and two stops over, simply to make sure that you get a end result you’ll be pleased with later.

14. Don’t use Auto White Stability

Utilizing Auto White Stability gives you very inconsistent outcomes.

As an alternative, I like to recommend you attempt the daylight white steadiness preset. And for those who’re in search of a distinct impact, attempt the tungsten or cloudy presets.

Don’t be afraid to experiment.

And bear in mind:

If you’re capturing in RAW, you possibly can change the white steadiness in post-production.

15. Don’t rely in your meter

Normally, your digicam’s gentle meter will probably be fooled by the quantity of sunshine reflecting off the moon.

So be sure to always examine your LCD and histogram to make sure you’ve nailed the publicity.

Additionally, you will need to word that, because the moon rises, the publicity will change. The moon will get brighter because it rises, so that you’ll have to preserve adjusting your shutter velocity to compensate.

16. Do shoot the moon in RAW

Capturing in RAW will mean you can seize extra particulars of the moon’s floor, and in addition offer you extra latitude for changes in Lightroom and Photoshop.

So, until you aren’t in any respect comfy with utilizing digicam RAW software program, all the time shoot the moon in RAW.

17. Don’t be afraid to crop your photographs

Until you might be capturing with a really giant telephoto lens, it would be best to crop your picture to show the moon at a good dimension.

However bear in mind:

The extra you crop, the extra you cut back your capacity to print at a excessive decision.

18. Do tweak and sharpen

Most moon pictures goes to require some post-processing in Photoshop or different photograph modifying software program. Including readability and distinction will assist carry out particulars, and this can improve the craters and mountains of the moon.

As talked about above, the white steadiness and publicity might also be adjusted to realize a pleasant end result, as each are considerably troublesome to excellent in-camera.

19. Don’t be afraid to get inventive

Right here’s the reality:

Most nice moon pictures has been manipulated in post-production, due to the issue of capturing an important moon shot in a single picture.

So don’t be afraid to get inventive.

As an example, you may create a composite, as I did for this picture:

the moon and a flying seagullthe moon and a flying seagull
Be inventive! I mixed two photographs to make this composite.

A well-liked technique utilized by many photographers is to mix two exposures: one set to carry out the perfect of the foreground panorama, and a second uncovered for the moon. 

When combining these two photographs, attempt enlarging the moon barely to realize a extra dramatic impact, however don’t overdo it to the purpose that it appears to be like pretend. The moon must look plausible, until you’re going for a science fiction impact (which isn’t all the time a foul concept, creatively talking!).

shooting the moon above a bridge at nightshooting the moon above a bridge at night
Two exposures have been mixed to make this last picture. One picture was uncovered for the panorama and the opposite for the moon. The moon was enlarged barely for dramatic impact.

20. Do follow, follow, follow

You now know all the pieces you have to get began with moon pictures.

So get on the market and shoot the moon!

Do not forget that moon pictures will not be as simple because it appears to be like, so in case your first outcomes aren’t as dramatic as you anticipated, then preserve making an attempt!

Now I’d wish to see a few of your moon photographs! Please share any moon pictures within the feedback beneath.

!function (f, b, e, v, n, t, s) {
if (f.fbq) return
n = f.fbq = function () {
n.callMethod ?
n.callMethod.apply(n, arguments) : n.queue.push(arguments)
if (!f._fbq) f._fbq = n
n.push = n
n.loaded = !0
n.version = ‘2.0’
n.queue = []
t = b.createElement(e)
t.async = !0
t.src = v
s = b.getElementsByTagName(e)[0]
s.parentNode.insertBefore(t, s)
document, ‘script’, ‘https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/fbevents.js’)

fbq(‘init’, ‘1420262834888800’)
fbq(‘track’, ‘PageView’)

Shop Amazon