How to take great photographs of the moon….

This shot was taken on 21/7/13 in Sydney, Australia. ISO 100 Aperture F11, S/speed 1/125
This shot was taken on 21/7/13 in Sydney, Australia at 6.15pm.
ISO 100 Aperture F11, S/speed 1/125

The moon is such an easy object to photograph, but so many people find it really difficult and usually end up with a moon shot that looks like a ‘white blob’:)

In this tutorial, I’m gonna show you just how simple it is.

1. The first thing you need is a sturdy tripod. This will ensure that your camera keeps still and the image is SUPER sharp.

2. A DSLR with a zoom lens {minimum 200mm} or a point and shoot camera with an optical zoom.

3. A remote shutter release, or, if you don’t have one, you can use the camera’s self timer.

4. Put your camera onto the tripod and turn the image stabiliser OFF {if your lens has one.} The stabiliser can actually cause your camera to move when it’s on the tripod.

5. Set your ISO to 100. If you have a point and shoot camera, make sure the ‘Auto ISO’ is off.

6. Put your camera into M {manual mode.}

7. Switch the focus mode to ‘M’ {manual – it’s on the side of the lens.}

8. Set your metering mode to ‘spot’ – this means that your camera will ONLY take a reading off the moon and not the whole of the scene {including the surrounding dark sky.}

9. Now this is the bit that surprises most photographers; set the aperture to F11 and the shutter speed to 1/125 sec.…The moon is actually moving MUCH faster than you think 🙂
Remember, this is just a starting point for the aperture, shutter speed and ISO – adjustments can be made if necessary.

10. Focus on infinity, {by setting your lens to the centre of the infinity sign on the lens} if you are using your viewfinder.
If have the ‘live view’ function on your camera, it’s even easier to focus. Switch live view on, move the focus box so it’s over the moon, zoom in using the ‘magnifying tool’ on the rear of the camera and manually focus your image using the focusing ring on your lens.

11. Attach your remote shutter release to your camera and you’re good to go! Take a shot and examine the results carefully on the LCD screen for sharpness. The slightest bit of movement will blur the image.

If the moon is too BRIGHT, choose a smaller aperture {eg F14 or F16.} If the moon is too DARK, choose a larger aperture {eg F8} OR increase the ISO {I usually don’t go any higher than ISO 800.}

A couple of points here – I don’t change my shutter speed at all….I leave it at 1/125 sec. I adjust either the aperture or ISO to add or subtract light.

I don’t open up my aperture any more than F8…so I don’t use F5.6 or F4 etc – as I want a large depth of field to capture all the details of the moon.

Take lots of shots using different settings to get the result you want 🙂

Photographing the moon is lots of fun, so take lots of shots, experiment with different settings and most importantly practise, practise, practise:)

My images were cropped to enlarge the size of the moon in the frame.

Happy clicking,

Chris 🙂


If you have any questions or comments, I’d love to hear them 🙂


This shot was taken a few months back on a cloudy night. ISO 100 Aperture F13 s/speed 1/125
This shot was taken a few months back on a cloudy night.
ISO 100 Aperture F13 s/speed 1/125