For most photographers, shooting the moon pictures is one of the biggest joys and challenges that can’t be missed. Even though with the help of the telescope, some moon pictures could be captured in the blurred way, shooting them with some professional DSLR cameras makes it possible if photographers can have good command of some shooting techniques. However, it may take some time to obtain the best pictures of the brightest object in the night sky. In this post, some useful tips on how to take moon pictures with DSLR cameras and even iPhone would be listed below.
Part 1: What Are Needed Before You Take Moon Pictures?
Shooting the moon is a favorite shooting subject for many photography enthusiasts. From the selection of shooting equipment to the operation of practical shooting, the difficulty of shooting is not high, but it is not easy to shoot well. Before taking the moon pictures, the following tips should be kept in mind and some preparation should be made well.
△ 1. Telephoto Lens
If there is a DSLR camera, then it would be still given priority. Because the moon is too far away, it is best to choose a telephoto lens. The longer the focal length, the better photo quality. 200MM~400MM lenses are all fine. Shooting the moon actually does not require a high camera frame, only the lens has a high requirement, because the brightness of the moon is bright enough, and high sensitivity is not required for shooting. The general C-frame camera can shoot a bright moon. The key is the choice of focal length, for ordinary photographers, if you feel that the focal length is not long enough, you can add a tele-converter or use an APS-C format camera.
△ 2. Tripod
Whether you are using a DSLR or not, additional DSLR accessories, like tripod is still a must-have since it has the long focal length and the very low ambient brightness which will cause the failure of the moon pictures easily. If the surrounding landscape is not clear, and the image of the clouds and the moon is taken at an elevation angle, then you can put the camera on a tripod, fix the camera position, and shoot at regular intervals. Or you can first find the matching scenery, fix the camera with a tripod, and conceive the position of the moon in advance when shooting.
△ 3. Shutter Release Cable
Once your DSLR camera has been prepared and it has been located on a fixed position with the help of the tripod, then you had better not move these equipment anymore, so as to avoid some mistakes. In such a case, if you can obtain a wireless shutter release cable, then it would be perfect. Even though this is not a common piece, you can still find the proper one to avoid camera shake in an efficient way. Instead, you may also turn to the self-timer function on your camera as the alternative way.
△ 4. Proper Environment
Besides the above equipment and related pieces, you have to look for the proper environment where you can easily shoot the moon pictures which include the good weather, time and spot. You can refer to the weather app on your phone to see what weather is at night. You can even use some professional photography assistant apps to check the position of the moon and the thickness of the clouds. The simplest thing is to know that the moon rises from the east. It is best to reach the shooting location early, and observe the surrounding buildings, environmental light pollution and other factors before shooting. After reaching the location, take a few trial shots. You can plan based on the works of others on the Internet and see what creative ideas are worth learning.
Part 2: How to Take Moon Pictures with DSLR?
Once all the necessary tools have been in ready, then you also need some shooting techniques to take excellent moon pictures with your DSLR cameras.
1. Use Long Zoom Lens to Take Moon Pictures
If you use a normal lens to shoot, no matter how you zoom, you will only see a white spot, let alone a texture on the moon. Generally speaking, the longer the focal length of the lens when shooting the moon, the better, but if do not have a long zoom lens, at least you should use a 200mm lens or add an extended range.
2. Use Manual Mode to Make Moon Pictures
When shooting moon pictures, we are usually in a dark environment. Therefore, if you use semi-automatic or advanced mode when shooting, the camera may be misled by the dark surroundings and mistakenly think that the light is insufficient and slow the shutter or increase the aperture. Finally, the photo will be overexposed, so it is best to set the camera to full manual mode when shooting moon. The following is one of the commonly used settings: aperture f/8, shutter 1/125, ISO 100, of course, this is only a reference, it must be adjusted according to the actual situation.
3. Decide Aperture and Shutter Speed
Due to the use of a tripod for shooting, the requirements for aperture and shutter are not so high, so there is basically no need to consider the problem of star displacement. It is generally recommended to use the aperture priority mode, an aperture of about f7.1, and spot metering. However, if your focal length is not long enough, the automatic calculation of the camera may not be accurate enough, then you need to adjust the Manual parameters
4. Set ISO
ISO generally recommends a value of 100~200 to ensure a clean photo picture. It should be noted that most cameras will provide automatic ISO adaptation, then you need to turn it off in the settings panel, otherwise you will find that no matter how much you set, the ISO value will be very high. In addition, it is recommended to turn off the automatic noise reduction for long exposure in the camera, and we can get better results through Photoshop program in the later stage.
5. Shooting Location
In addition to the techniques mentioned above, the shooting location is also very important. In addition to being able to see the moon clearly, the location must also be dark enough. Generally speaking, a more open area will be more ideal.
Now you can shoot when you are ready. Of course, I suggest that you had better not only shoot a moon, because the picture is too monotonous. Some interesting backgrounds can be added to the picture, such as floating white clouds, swaying willow branches, etc. The picture cannot have nothing, nor can it have everything.
Part 3: How to Take Moon Pictures with iPhone?
If you don’t spend such a large sum of money on buying a DSLR camera, then as the alternative way, you can use iPhone to take moon pictures as well, even though it would not be as strong as the professional camera. Here are some tips for iPhone moon pictures shooting. Here you can make full use of the Night Mode on your iPhone.
- Open the Camera app on your iPhone. Hold your iPhone rear camera up to the moon you can see. Then, using the 2X lens on your iPhone.
- Turn down ISO. Since the moon is very bright, while the surrounded is very dark. You had better try to get the background bright enough so as to see. Reduce the ISO on your Phone by sliding your finger downwards on the left hand side of the screen and set it to the minimum.
- Adjust exposure. To present the proper exposure by sliding your finger up and down on the right side of the iPhone camera screen until the moon looks grey.
- Focus. Usually the focus of the camera on iPhone would be automatic. Here you can set the volume to 100 by sliding your finger to the right in the bottom half of the screen. Then, finally press the shutter icon and a moon picture would be shot immediately.
Part 4: How to Enhance Quality of Moon Pictures with Leawo PhotoIns?
If you are not satisfied with the moon pictures you have shot, then an additional photo editor program would be your helpful hand. Leawo PhotoIns could easily enhance the moon picture quality via several simple steps due to its AI automatic photo enhancement tool. You can follow the steps below to enhance quality of moon pictures with Leawo PhotoIns.
Step 1. Download Leawo PhotoIns
Download and install Leawo PhotoIns on your computer.
- Enhance portrait photos easily with advanced AI technology
- Fix photo exposure and white balance issues automatically
- Optimize photo colors and perfect photo tints
- Make photos perfectly clear with smart dehaze
- Boost photo lighting and color quality
- Process RAW and JPG files
Step 2. Import Source Moon Pictures to Leawo PhotoIns
Once you have installed Leawo PhotoIns on your computer, then open it and import source photos you would like to enhance to this program. Enter the main interface of Leawo PhotoIns and you can load the moon photos into the program by clicking the option “Add Photo”.
Step 3. Start to Enhance Moon Pictures
After loading the moon picture to the tool, then you can start to enhance the photo. You can click the AI Enhance tab to choose the features, including "Automatic Lens Correction", "Face Enhance" and "Enlarge Eyes". Furthermore, you can find an effect adjuster bar right below the previewer which could allow you to set the degree of each effect.
Step 4. Set output parameters
Once you have chosen your preferred effects and you have applied the AI Enhancer to your chosen moon photos, now you need to click the bottom right output icon to proceed for output settings. On the Output Setting panel, you can complete the following things: “Save to” route, “Format”, “Quality”, “Naming”, “Resizing” and so on. Finally, click “Output” to export the enhanced photo to your computer.