Capture perfect moon photographs with these camera settings

Moon photography requires unique camera settings and the right gear to capture a sharp image.

As the moon phases change through the month, photographers are given several opportunities to capture spectacular photographs. Here are some camera settings to keep in mind for your nighttime photography.

camera settings for moon photography

Make sure your settings are right

The amount of light the moon gives off changes through the night which affects your camera settings. This gives you a great chance to learn the effects of camera settings on your nighttime photo and discover what your camera is capable of.

Before heading out into the night, start with these base camera settings:

ISO: The best place to start is your base ISO, typically around ISO 100. This setting allows little light in, which will be complemented by the following two settings.

Aperture: Keep your aperture small – somewhere between f/11 and f/16 – to let more light in. There’s some trial and error here – not enough light will make it too dark, too much will compromise the quality of your photos. Play around with your aperture until you find a balance that you’re happy with.

Shutter speed: Your shutter speed should be slower than average to let more light in. As a base, start at 1/100, adjust between 1/60 and 1/1125 as required.

Pack your camera bag

When you’re photographing the moon, you’re working in a low-light environment which means you may have to be a bit crafty to get the crisp, clear shots you’re looking for. Make sure you pack the right gear to help you get the right shot:

Tripod: A tripod will help you avoid camera shake and assist in producing clear photographs.

Shutter release cable: A shutter release cable means you can keep your hands clear of the camera to help eliminate camera shake. If you don’t have one, you can use your camera’s timer instead.

Long zoom lens: While not essential, a long zoom lens will help you to zoom in and highlight the detail of the moon and its craters.

Edit for the finishing touches

When you’ve finished your shoot, you can refine your shots and adjust brightness and contrast with some great photo editing apps, like Lightroom and Photoshop.

Check out more photography tips and tricks.