In Photography Tutorials

Shooting the Moon

How to photograph the moon

Shooting the Moon

I remember a few years back I was the one drooling over photos that I saw taken of the moon.  Each time I ventured out, nothing good came of it.  I was left to wonder, how do they do that? Shooting the moon, a clear photo of it became my goal.

Let me share some information with you.  Once you read all, you too will be able to shoot the moon!

Blood Moon Phases

Equipment Needed:

1.) A sturdy tripod.  You will not be able to get a sharp, crisp picture without one.  Shooting the moon holding your camera in your hands is not an option.

2.) A DSLR Camera.

3.) A 200mm or better zoom lens.

4.) Remote shutter release, or at least a camera that has a timer option.


1.) Remove your cameras neck strap because it gets in the way and secondly, because even the slight movement of the wind catching it can mess with your results.  You don’t want motion.  Attach the camera to your sturdy tripod.

2.) Once the camera is placed on the tripod, if your lens has image stabilization, turn it off. Image stabilizers are awesome for handholding but can actually cause unwanted motion vibration inside your camera when you have your camera on a tripod.

3.) Flip your lens focus mode to M for manual.  There is a switch on the side of your lens.

4.) Attach your remote release to your camera, purchasing one made my life easier. If you do not have a remote release, read up on how to set your cameras delay timer.  Set a 5 -10 second delay before each photo taken.  This will help stop any motion after you hit your shutter on the camera.

5.) Place your camera to M for manual mode.

6.) Focus your lens to infinity.  For me, the most difficult part of photographing at night was learning how to do this.  Some lens have the infinity sign on them, some do not.  Mine had one, but it was slightly off focus after reviewing photos.

Here Are Some Ways to Help You Focus to Infinity

Live View: Turn your live view on and zoom in on the moon using your magnify tool.  Manually focus on the moon and take the shot using your remote shutter release or setting your camera’s timer. Carefully look over your images to be sure that they are sharp.

During the daylight hours focus on something far off in the distance, using auto focus. Then switch your lens to manual mode and your camera to manual immediately.Be careful not to bump your lens. Then do steps 1, 2 and 4. If the photos are focused some of us then mark the “infinity” spot using a marker after that.  😉

Good Setting To Start With?
ISO: I use the lowest ISO the camera will allow.  ISO 100.
Aperture: F11
Shutter: 1/125 second (the moon is a moving target many people forget this)

Fullmoon on a Dark Night

From here I only play around with the shutter speed.

Is the moon too bright?
Use a fast shutter like 1/125 – 1/250

The moon too dark?

Slow down (lower) the shutter until you achieve your dream photo. Although, I never go below 1/100 of a second.

Once you have your photos – it is time to do a little cropping to make it look even larger in the frame. Otherwise, you may have too much sky and not enough moon.

Hope this helped you out.  I am in no way an expert on shooting the moon; only passing on information that I have obtained through trial and error.

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