Photographing the Moon

By no means am I qualified to give any advice about photography; I am merely wanting to share what I have learnt about getting a decent shot of a beautiful full moon.  Guess a lot of people are thinking it would have been handy to have this info before the super moon on Sunday 23 June 2013 – oops, sorry about that.

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In no particular order, here goes:

  • A tripod is absolutely paramount and set up on a stable ground – I find the grass isn’t even stable enough;
  • Use a remote shutter – I find it impossible to get a clear shot using the shutter button on my camera;
  • If you don’t have a remote shutter, you could always set the timer on your camera;
  • Use your largest zoom lens – I use my 50 – 250mm lens;
  • If your lens has an image stabiliser, turn it on;

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  • Use Manual mode;
  • RAW vs JPG is always better but alas I am not shooting in RAW yet;
  • Select a shutter speed between 1/125 and 1/250;
  • Select an aperture between f8 and f11;
  • Set your ISO to 100;

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  • Set your picture style to standard;
  • Set your white balance to auto;
  • Set your metering mode to spot metering;
  • Keep the moon in the centre of the shot;
  • Adjust your focus manually by selecting the  live view mode and magnify the moon 5 to 10 times to assist focussing and selecting the manual focus feature on your lens.

So there you have in a nutshell what I do.  Hope it helps you.  I have also read (alas cannot find the article) the colder the night, the clearer the sky.  There was a fabulous explanation as to why but like I say, I cannot find it.

Happy photographing. 🙂


38 thoughts on “Photographing the Moon

  1. I tried ot take some shots of that moon and they ended up looking like little dots of white in the distance! Your shots are very impressive – wasn’t it stunning that night?!

  2. What amazing shots Mandy! I’m going to have to give this a try. Just gorgeous! I’m shocked these are with a simple zoom lens. I had no idea it could do that. I can’t wait to try this. And isn’t it so cool that no matter how far apart we live, we see the same moon. 🙂

    • Kristy, thank you for such a beautiful compliment! You made my day! After you have taken your shots, crop them so you see more moon than black sky. I know, it is amazing that we are on the opposite side of the world to each other and see the same moon – love that! Have a super day. 🙂 xo

  3. I was so looking forward to seeing the super-moon however we had two weeks of non-stop rain during that period and so there was zero chance of seeing it. So disappointing. You managed to get some great images xx

  4. Great lunar shots, Mandy. You’ve really come a long way with your new camera. Thanks for the tips. I may not be able to use them now but if I ever upgrade my camera, I’ll know where to come before I photograph that blue moon which will definitely be shining. 🙂

  5. I did see the super moon in June but did not have my camera. But even if I did, my photos would most likely look like nothing. I really need to get a good camera and take some lessons, one of these days.

  6. And wasn’t that supermoon something else? I woke up around 1:00 am & thought someone was shining spotlights into my bedroom it was so bright.
    Good information although I think you’re equipment’s a lot more sophisticated than mine is. When we’ve got a full moon I always want to grab some shots of it because we always seem to have a beautiful look at it right over my neighbor’s house. The other night was really incredible because the sky all around it was a gorgeous pink.

    • Sadly I never saw it as bright as it could have been due to cloud cover that kept coming over. I am sure you can take beautiful shots, especially with a gorgeous pink “halo” around the moon. Have a beautiful week ahead Diane. 🙂 xo

  7. Thank you for the tips, I sometimes see the moon when it is really low in the sky and with the sea in front it looks even bigger – I’ve never tried to photograph it, but I know who to turn to when I do !! Lovely shots too 🙂

  8. I am hopeless at moon shots and am trying to get star shots, hopeless at those too, i think i shall try your procedure, it makes perfect sense, i just go to bulb and guess!! bad c.. thank you mandy. c

  9. Thank you for outlining the details.. this is one of the most difficult shots to take I think. I’ve only just this year begun to know what those three numbers even are, lol, and am getting better at playing with them. I use Raw exclusively now, it doesn’t seem to make much difference when I upload to iphoto but does seem to have truer color.. and it takes up a ton of memory on my computer and my camera’s memory card. I used to be intimidated by Raw, but it’s really just like jpeg when you switch to it:) I love your photo!! xx

    • I really should just start shooting in raw, although I don’t have a clue how to convert it to jpeg. I am a bit worried about the size of the files too. Your photos are always gorgeous! Have a beautiful day Smidge. 🙂 xo

  10. Ohhhhh! Amazing skills, Mandy! I haven’t attempted to take pictures of moon, but you’ve been taking beautiful pictures beyond food. I’m still stuck with food and I cannot even take good pictures of my own kids. =P Thank you for sharing your knowledge!

    • So glad you found the information useful Nami. You take the most exquisite photos of food. I bet you would take brilliant shots of the moon and your children. Have a beautiful day. 🙂 xo

  11. Those are some amazing shots. Wonderful full moon. I love to look the stars and planetary movement with my telescope but for some reason I never thought to take a photo. I love how you can see the craters on the moon. Awesome!

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