Shoot the moon: Camera settings for moon photography.
Learn more about moon photography, plus the specific camera settings and gear you’ll need to capture a sharp image.
Whether you want to shoot the phases of the moon or an exciting phenomenon like a Supermoon is in the forecast, knowing the correct camera settings for nighttime photography will help you capture crisp, clear, and impactful shots. Here’s what you need to know before the big night.
Get your settings ready.
The moon phases — and consequently, the amount of light the moon is giving off — will affect your camera settings on any given night. Keep this in mind when you first start, so you don’t get too frustrated right away. While shooting the moon is a bit of a learning experience, it’s a great way to become familiar with your camera and its settings.
Here are some helpful settings to get you started:
- ISO: Set your camera to its base ISO. This is typically around ISO 100. That setting will provide high-quality images but will let very little light in — you’ll compensate for that with the next two settings.
- Aperture: You’ll want to shoot with a small aperture. Experiment with various f-stops starting at f/11 and up to f/16. Too much light will wash out the photo, while not enough will make it too dark, so it may take a few tries to get it just right.
- Shutter speed: Aim for slightly faster than average shutter speeds. Start at 1/100, adjusting from 1/60 to 1/125 as needed.
Don’t forget the gear.
Since you’ll be shooting the bright moon in the dark sky, you’ll need to compensate for the low-light environment while still aiming for crisp, clean shots. That calls for the following equipment:
- Tripod: This will help prevent camera shake, resulting in clean, non-blurry photos.
- Shutter release cable: This will also reduce the possibility of camera shake. Alternatively, you could use your camera’s self-timer.
- Long zoom lens: While not absolutely necessary, a long lens will help you fill the frame and really show off the moon’s details.
Edit like a pro.
Get more photography tips and tricks as you begin your exploration of moon photography.