How to Photograph the Moon with a DSLR | Step-By-Step Process

Have you ever seen a beautiful moon in front of your eyes, but after taking a picture of the moon, it just looked like a white circle with no definition? We are here to inform you that this happens to the best of us, which is why we are with a tutorial on how to photograph the moon with a DSLR.

Taking a clear photo of the moon where you can see its definition is truly a milestone in a photographer’s journey, and we’ll help you achieve that milestone just with a quick guide!

How to Photograph the Moon with a DSLR

Decide on What Type of Photo of the Moon You Want to Capture

Our instruction on how to photograph the moon with a DSLR largely depends on what kind of photo of the moon you want to take. You could take a close-up shot of the moon or you can choose to have the moon as an element in your photo. If you want to capture a video, you should get the best prosumer camera for you.

Taking a photo of the Moon as a part of a landscape is very simple and does not require a lot of extra work. It is the close-up shot that will make you work a bit to capture the Moon at its full glory.

Camera Gear for Moon Photography

Alongside the best camera for moon shots, Having the right gear for Moon photography is essential to get the best results.

Buy a Tripod

Getting a tripod is an absolute must, so you can keep your camera stable and prevent any motion blur due to the movement of the camera.

Get a Long Zoom Lens

Unless you don’t want your Moon pictures to look like a white spot, you have to get a long zoom lens. If you are on a tight budget do not splurge on an expensive one; just get a 70-300mm one since we need a focal length of 200mm or more.

Which DSLR is the Best?

Since full-frame sensors allow more light in, we must say that cameras that have full-frame sensors are better for this type of photography. However, with a good idea about camera settings, you should be good with almost any DSLR.

The Optional Shutter Release Cable

Since you will have your camera on a tripod, using a self-timer should suffice for moon photography, but if you can get a shutter release cable to even further decrease the chance of any motion blur.

Ideal Camera Settings for Taking Stunning Photos of the Moon

Camera settings play the largest role in Moon photography or any sort of photography. That’s especially true when you are taking photos of the moon with clouds.

File Type and Focusing

When taking pictures of the Moon you should shoot raw so you can work with more details and have flexibility when you are editing the photos. Although autofocus is the better choice in most cases, manual focus would be the wiser option in this case so you can focus with live view to get the sharpest shot.

Setting the ISO

As you probably know, higher ISO means greater noise, which is why we’d advise you to keep your ISO at 100 and if your camera can even to a lower setting. Unfortunately, conditions may not be ideal, and if you’re using a lens with a VERY long focal length such as 500 mm, you’ll need to bump up the ISO. If something goes, you can always photoshop the moon pictures with Adobe LightRoom.

Choosing the Right Aperture

If you’re capturing the moon when it’s fuller you can easily choose the ideal aperture settings between f/11 to f/16. When the lighting condition is a disaster, you could use an aperture between f/5.6 to f/8, and the photos will still be sharp enough.

Getting the Right Shutter Speed

Like all settings, the shutter speed will also vary depending on the scenario. If the sky is clear, your shutter speed should be somewhere between 1/125th to 1/60th. We will suggest you experiment a bit to see what works best for you.

How to Photograph the Moon with a DSLR

Here we will be giving you a short step-by-step instruction to take a picture of just the moon.

Step 1: Take a Zoom Lens with a Long Focal Length

As we have previously mentioned, to capture a close-up of the moon, you will need a long zoom lens with a focal length greater than 200mm.

Step 2: Fix the ISO

Try to keep your ISO as low as possible, 100 is a nice spot.

Step 3: Set the Aperture

If you are shooting under decent conditions, select the aperture between f/11 and f/16.

Step 4: Select the Shutter Speed

Take some trial shots with a shutter speed between 1/60th and 1/125th to see what is the right one for your scene.

Step 5: Set your camera on a Tripod, and SHOOT

Finally, set your camera on a sturdy tripod, turn on the timer, and take some beautiful shots of the gorgeous Moon!

Final Words

We hope that the information from this article on how to photograph the moon with a DSLR will help you to grasp this new art form of Moon photography! Experiment with your settings, and have fun with your camera, we guarantee you’ll get some amazing shots with practice!

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