Guest Post: Shooting the Moon

Here’s a guest post with some information on how to take great moon shots. To start with – you need a long lens. This was taken with a 300 mm lens, and it’s still not the most detailed image ever. I think something in the 600 mm range probably works best. Other specs on this image: tripod mounted, ISO 200, and 1/80 second shutter speed. To get decent moon shots, you need to have your camera in manual mode, because the highly concentrated, bright light of the moon surrounded by inky blackness does not compute for most cameras.

In any regards, here are some tips on how to take moon photos:


Dark side of the moon – Taking great photographs of the Moon


Since ancient times, human beings have been continually fascinated and inspired by the moon. While you may think that once you’ve seen one photo of the moon, you’ve seen them all, there are many techniques you can use with your SLR camera to make your moon images stand out from the rest, without needing to be an astronomy expert.

There are some basic tips and equipment you’ll need to get started:

  • A low ISO – For most DSLRs, an ISO of 200 works very well for moon photography. While that may seem counter-intuitive, as this setting is usually used for day-time photography, the moon is reflecting a large amount of sunlight. Using a higher ISO will result in a photo of a white disc, with none of the craters or other small details of the moon’s surface visible. Choosing a low ISO allows you to capture the intricacies of the moon’s surface.


  • Timing – the moon looks different in the sky during the different stages of the lunar cycle, and also during different times of the day and night. Experiment by taking your photos in the afternoon, in the middle of the night, when the moon is at its fullest, and when the moon is crescent-shaped. Finding your ideal moon phase is the key to creating the perfect picture


  • A tripod – since you’ll be photographing with a slightly longer lens exposure time, mounting the camera on a tripod will minimise any shaking and blurring. It will also help support the larger lens sizes to get in close to your subject matter. A remote shutter release controller may also be useful, as it allows you to push the shutter release without having to touch or knock the camera body itself.
  • A Telephoto lens – professional SLR lenses make a world (and moon) of difference to your photos. A telephoto lens will enable you to take photos of items which are further away, and have a longer focal length to allow you to capture objects as distant as the moon. A 300mm zoom lens is the minimum recommended lens length for such photos. 500mm telephoto lenses and above will offer even greater quality and precision.
  • Different filters – There are hundreds of filter types you can add to the front of the lens of your SLR to give your moon photos an interesting colour or effect. Adjusting the white balance settings on your digital camera can also change the appearance of the moon for some unique effects.

The most important tip is to be patient when learning to take photos of the moon.  While you may find it difficult to take quality photos on your first few tries, be persistent, keep experimenting with different combinations of filters, lenses and shutter speeds, and you’ll be taking NASA-worthy photos in no time.

Article Bio:


This article is brought to you by Canon New Zealand – Moon Photos. For more great Canon products your favourite EOS cameras and camera accessories, visit their website.

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