It does not matter where in the world you find yourself, whether you are in nature or in the city, you will have the opportunity to shoot the full moon once a month. So instead of just admiring the rising moon, why not take out your camera and take photos? It can be quite tricky, but once you know how to get it right, you will be amazed at how easy it actually is to get great moon pictures.
The moon is also a great subject to start you out in astrophotography. The full moon is generally large enough to shoot with a normal zoom or telephoto lens, but you still need the right equipment and planning to ensure the best moon pictures.
The right equipment
The most important will be a tripod to keep the camera steady. You don’t want a blurry, bright blob of a moon. Try a zoom lens of at least 300mm for moon photos as you can get pretty close. A shutter release cable is ideal to reduce shake when touching your camera, but if you don’t have one, use the self-timer.
Find the right moon phase
The internet is your friend as you would most likely want to shoot the full moon. Find a chart online to show you not only the moon phases, but also the time the moon rises and sets. In general, it is best to shoot the moon on a cloudless night, but there are exceptions, depending on your objectives with your moon pictures.
Remember that the full moon is bright because of the sun reflecting on it, so you can’t use long exposures. Some basic settings to use as reference for shooting the moon is a low ISO, fast shutter speed (try 1/125sec or 1/250sec) and an f-stop of f11 or f9. These settings don’t guarantee the best moon photos, but is a good starting point to work from. Play around until you find the setting that works best for you.
If you shoot the moon up close filling the entire frame, you can get amazing results with a lot of details, especially on the moon’s surface. Make your moon pictures different from the others out there. Find diff angles to make your moon images stand out from the rest out there. Often, a couple of clouds can add interesting elements to your shots. Try silhouettes, cityscapes, trees and even reflections of the moon in water.
Be creative and have fun taking moon pictures
By just playing around with your camera and creating some magic with post processing software, you can overlay images, or add the moon into night photography shots. You don’t always have to opt for the same close up shots of the moon. Create sequences with the next solar eclipse to showcase your skills.
Find out when the next full moon is and try your hand at astrophotography. However, there is no need to wait for the next full moon as you can shoot all the different phases of the moon.
Remember, sharing is caring. Don’t keep your moon pictures for yourself or lose them amongst all the files on your computer. Photo sharing sites not only allow you to showcase your amazing moon images, but it will also be kept safe, in its original size and format!