When the full moon rises, many people pull out their cell phones to try to take a valuable Instagram photo, but unfortunately it is very difficult to take a great photo.
Two reasons: it’s too far away and unless you have a telephoto lens (which makes the moon appear closer than it is), it will always appear as a very small glowing dot in the frame.
Second, shooting at night is very difficult. Professional cameras allow you to change your ISO or sensitivity rating, meaning you can shoot in low light with no loss of image quality.
Can you use your smartphone camera?
The short answer is yes, but I would suggest downloading an app and photographing the moon with it instead of using the camera on your iPhone or Android. Some apps allow you to increase your sensitivity rating so that you can shoot in low light. I would suggest making sure there is another element in the photo – so capture the moon as it goes by, say a nice bridge or mountain. This allows the viewer to get a perspective on the size of the moon and also create a more interesting image.
But even with these apps, you might be a little disappointed with the result.
To get a great photo of the moon you really need a zoom or a zoom – the higher the better. In addition to a professional camera and tripod, use the cable release or a two-second delay timer to release the shutter. This prevents camera shake when pressing the button. This will not only allow you to increase the size of the moon in the frame, but also get every detail in it while keeping the image as sharp as possible.
Your settings will change based on the quality of the camera you are using. But you want to set the ISO to 100, which keeps the image quality at its highest. Set file size to raw – This allows the largest file size the camera has.
Aperture isn’t nearly as important when shooting the moon, so aim for around f8.
So who gets the best photos of the moon?
I like this photo that Matt Cardy took during the Glastonbury Tour 2015:
Cardy created such an impressive frame with his composition and focal length. The size of the moon next to people creates an image that looks like it’s from another world.
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