There is something enchanting and mystical about the moon. But photographing the moon is a challenge which requires special gear, preparation, technique and right time. In this great animated tutorial from Apalapse, you’ll learn everything you need to start taking stunning photos of the moon. And it all fits in only two minutes.
If you want to photograph the moon that doesn’t look like an overexposed white blob in the sky, you should start with the right gear. A super-telephoto lens is almost a must: lenses starting from 300 mm will do. But if you want to capture a closer image and more details, you should use a focal length over 1000 mm.
Most lenses over 1000mm are very expensive, so using a teleconverter is a good idea if you want to extend the reach of your lens and save a few bucks.
Aside from a proper lens, using proper camera settings is also important. Put the camera in the manual mode, and use spot metering to properly expose for the moon. Keep the ISO reasonably low to avoid noise, and set the aperture to f/8 or f/11 for maximum sharpness. As for the shutter speed, make sure that it’s fast enough so the moon stays sharp. The moon moves across the sky faster than you think, so a slow shutter speed may result in a blurry image. Finally, use a tripod and a cable release to minimize camera shake.
Aside from gear and proper settings, there are a few more things to pay attention to when photographing the moon. If you want a particular shot, make sure to check moon phases and its position in the sky.
When you photograph the moon, try including it in a landscape, buildings or landmarks. This will make the photo more interesting than just capturing the moon alone. Here’s an interesting example from Eric Paré, combining the moon and a model:
In order to further help make awesome moon photos, Apalapse also shares a cheat sheet with a checklist for photographing the moon. You can download it here and have it around when you go out for your next moon photo shoot.
[How to Photograph the Moon in 2 Minutes | Apalapse]