How To Take Pictures Of The Moon: With Expert Lunar Photography

There’s nothing quite like the moon in the night sky to capture your attention. It’s the largest celestial object in our immediate vicinity, and it’s also one of the most straightforward things to shoot in the night sky. But how can you snap images of the lunar surface? What techniques do you use to become a master in moon photography? We’ll show you how to do it right now, so pay attention.

The good news is that practically any camera can be used to picture the moon, making it accessible to anybody. You do not have to be a professional photographer to participate. Having said that, it is beneficial to have the proper equipment, to be prepared, and to make some preparations ahead of time. Not only will you learn how to take photographs of the moon by following our professional instructions, but you will also learn how to capture images of the moon so beautifully that others will believe you are an astronaut!

The Best Camera for Lunar Photography – What You Need to Know

It is true that you can capture photographs of the moon with any camera you choose. However, if you’ve ever attempted to take a photograph of the moon and the night sky with your phone, you’ll know that it doesn’t always work as well as it should. The best equipment for lunar photography is likely to be a full-frame DSLR with a telephoto lens, which will be expensive.

There are other options, such as using a mirrorless camera or a bridge camera, but a DSLR will always be the best option for capturing the most extreme moon images. But the fact is that you want a camera with a bigger sensor since it will perform better in low light conditions. When photographing anything at night, a larger sensor is usually preferable to a smaller one.

The Best Lens for Photographing the Lunar

The lens on your camera is even more crucial than the camera itself. Either a telephoto lens or a long zoom lens is what you’re looking for. This is the only method to properly catch the moon in shots, as it is the only way to fill your frame with the vast large white orb in the sky. Keep in mind that the moon is a long way away from the objects you’re used to photographing in your everyday life. This means that you should invest as much money as possible on a zoom lens.

You don’t need the quickest lens because speed isn’t actually that crucial. However, you will require a telephoto lens with a focal length of at least 200mm. Longer is preferable, although anything between 70 and 300mm would do for most purposes. Furthermore, if you’re shooting with a high-quality camera, even a lens with a focal length of 200mm will end up giving you an equivalent focal length of about 450mm.

There are also teleconverters to take into account. If you have a normal lens, it may be more cost-effective for you to acquire a teleconverter rather than attempting to increase the focal length of your lens. You may always utilize the smallest wide-angle lens available and include background components into your photo to make it more visually attractive if you don’t have any of these tools.

Equipment Required for Taking Photographs of the Moon

In addition to a high-quality camera and a decent lens, you’ll need a tripod and a wire for the shutter release. More than that, there are just two other pieces of equipment that are required for shooting photographs of the moon..

You must use a tripod since you do not want to touch the camera when taking pictures. You want to set up your camera in such a manner that the moon fills the entire frame and you don’t have to hold the camera in your hands while taking the picture. When you press the shutter button, even the tiniest amount of movement from you will result in a catastrophic failure. When your camera shakes, your photographs will appear bad.

Always double-check that your tripod is securely fastened and that you’re setting up in a location where people aren’t likely to stroll in front of your camera. In addition, it goes without saying that you should always make sure that your camera is not too heavy for your tripod, since doing so may result in several issues with the camera’s stability.

An excellent tool for any amateur photographer, the shutter release cable is a must-have for all of them. Although it is not required, it will assist you in avoiding any potential camera wobble. Because using the shutter release wire eliminates the need to contact the camera with your fingers in order to snap a photo, there is almost no risk of encountering camera shaking.

Of course, if you don’t want to spend the extra money on a cable, you can just utilize the self-timer option on your camera instead.

What are the best camera settings to use while photographing the moon?

There is no need to utilize any automated functions on your camera while taking images of the moon when taking pictures of the moon. There is no possibility that your camera will be able to correctly meter the moon from where you are standing right now. This indicates that you will be shooting in complete manual mode. However, if you truly want to avoid making any settings, you should at the very least shoot in aperture priority mode to save time.

Shoot in RAW mode whenever possible to capture the entire range of details from the moon and to allow for significant post-processing modifications. Always remember to utilize manual focus instead than autofocus whenever possible. Because your camera will be mounted on a tripod, you won’t need to utilize the image stabilization feature at all.

The ISO setting on your camera should be 100 or lower. You want to get rid of any background noise and grit. If your camera will only allow you to lower the ISO to 200, that’s ok with me.

When it comes to shutter speed, you want something that is quick. Please keep in mind that the moon is traveling slowly across the sky, and if your shutter speed is set too slow, you may end up mistakenly capturing its trip through the constellations. We propose using an extremely quick shutter speed, perhaps in the range of 1/60 or even 1/125 second. Even though it may vary depending on how bright the moon is and what lens length you’re using, these are the suggested starting speeds for shooting at night when the moon is bright and the sky is clear.

Last but not least, there is your aperture. The moon should be photographed at f/11 or f/16 if possible, since you want the images to be as clear as possible. It will vary depending on the type of lighting you’re utilizing, but once again, this is a good place to get started. You will need to investigate the sweet spot of your lens in order to choose the sharpest aperture setting. Only in poor lighting situations should you widen the aperture, since this will make the moon appear sharper. Otherwise, keep it closed.

The Looney 11 Rule

With the looney 11 rule, you may estimate the right exposure without the need of a light meter, which is quite convenient. When used at night, the rule is supposed to be effective. If you are photographing the moon in the night sky, this will serve as a starting point for you. The rule is straightforward. Always use an aperture of f/11 and a shutter speed that is the reciprocal of the automatic ISO setting on your camera. In other words, f/11 at ISO 100 with a shutter speed of 1/100 at a shutter speed of f/11.

Although this is not a hard and fast rule, it is a good place to start when taking photographs of the lunar landscape.

How to Take Pictures of the Moon

Prior to taking photographs of the moon, you will need to do some preliminary preparations. Decide on what time of day you’ll be photographing the moon and how you’d like it to appear, and then scout out the finest spot to get the images. Some of your camera’s settings will determine things such as whether you want to take a picture of the moon with the stars as a background or if you want close-up shots of the moon’s face to be taken.

The type of photos you want to take will determine whether or not you need a tripod. If you need, you can either set up in your backyard or drive about in the middle of the night in search of the best hilltop vantage point to photograph the moon. You’ll also need to be aware of the moon cycle at all times. From the new moon to the full moon, the appearance of this space rock changes dramatically, as do the visibility levels it provides. For example, the full moon will always be the brightest because it reflects the most light from the sun, making it the most visible.

The actual act of taking the photograph is completely uncomplicated. Make sure your tripod is stable, that the moon is completely in frame, and that you use your cable release to snap the shot. Continue to take photographs until you find one – or a dozen – that you genuinely adore.


Taken with a good camera, taking images of the moon is not as tough as it appears. If you have a camera, you can shoot images of the moon at any time of day or night, whether it’s a full moon or a crescent moon, and you can do it with little or no expertise. While patience, experimentation, and acceptance of the fact that some of your photographs may not be the greatest are required, you will undoubtedly be able to capture some spectacular moon photographs.

Maintaining a low shutter speed and being aware of your low-light limitations are all important considerations. Always use manual settings on your camera and don’t be frightened of Photoshop. When it comes to refining your greatest moon images, a little amount of editing may go a long way toward achieving success. Always be sure to equip yourself with a dependable telephoto lens, get a shutter release cable, and adhere to the looney 11 rule if you can afford it.



Joseph is a talented photographer and videographer based in the USA, with a thriving career as a freelance creative. Over the past several years, he has had the privilege of working with renowned brands, capturing captivating images and videos. His portfolio encompasses a diverse range of subjects, specializing in fashion, portrait, and lifestyle content creation. From editorial shoots to engaging social media videos, Joseph's versatile skills ensure exceptional visual storytelling in every project. Beyond his professional endeavors, he nurtures a personal passion for travel and nature photography, channeling his deep appreciation for the environment into a commitment to sustainability and environmental causes.

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