WWith yet another supermoon rising – this time the June “strawberry moon” on Thursday night around the world – many people will be pulling out their cell phones to try and get an Instagram-worthy photo, but unfortunately, it’s really hard to take a nice picture of the moon.
Two reasons: It’s so far away and unless you have a telephoto lens (which makes the moon look closer than it is) it will always appear as a small bright spot in the frame.
Secondly, shooting at night is really difficult. Professional cameras allow you to change the ISO or sensitivity level, which means you can take photos in low-light situations without losing image quality.
So, can you use your smartphone’s camera?
The short answer is yes, but I would suggest downloading an app and shooting the moon with it instead of using your iPhone or Android camera. Some apps allow you to increase your sensitivity level, allowing you to take pictures in low light conditions. I would suggest making sure there is something else in the photo – like capturing the moon as it passes by, say, a beautiful bridge or mountain. This allows the viewer to get a perspective on the size of the moon as well as create a more interesting picture.
But even with these apps, you might be a bit disappointed with the result.
In order to take an amazing picture of the moon, you really need a telephoto or zoom lens – the higher the better. Besides the professional camera and tripod, also use the cable shutter release or the 2-second self-timer to operate the shutter. This prevents camera shake when the button is pressed. It not only allows you to increase the size of the moon in the frame, but also get all the details 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 the highest level. Set File Size to Raw – This allows for the largest file size for your camera.
The aperture isn’t nearly as big when shooting the moon, so aim around f8.
So who gets the best pictures of the moon?
Love this photo that Matt Cardy took at the Glastonbury Tour in 2015:
Cardi created such a poignant setting using her makeup and focal length. The size of the moon combined with people creates an image that looks from another world.