Top 5 tips for photographing the Supermoon

Photographing a Supermoon can be a fun evening and produce impressive and memorable photographs with just a little planning and forethought.

1) Above all else, use a tripod.
Without a tripod you’ll likely only capture a blurry mess. If you don’t own a tripod, use a beanbag or something else to rest your camera on and steady it. A tightly rolled up beach towel can even work in a pinch.

2) Don’t press the shutter button on the camera.
Pressing the shutter release on the camera will cause blurriness so if you have a wired or wireless shutter release remote use it. If you don’t, use your camera’s timer mode with a short delay to avoid camera shake.

3) Incorporate the moon within a scene.
Unless you have a 400mm or longer lens, a shot of just the moon itself will likely appear too small and uninteresting. Instead, compose the photograph so the moonrises over a scenic landscape or something…anything. It can be a landmark, building, cityscape, mountain, trees, or a model. By having something in the foreground you give the moon scale and it makes the moon pop!

4) Use the longest lenses you own.
Get in as tight on the moon and whatever you’re using in the foreground as possible. So use the longest lens appropriate for the scene you’re photographing.

5) Use low ISO, spot meter, aperture priority mode or manual mode and a long exposure.
You’ll want to take your ISO off of AUTO and manually set it at the lowest ISO setting your camera has. Then use your shutter speed to compensate.

Switch your camera’s meter setting so it’s using spot metering and then meter off the moon itself. If the camera still isn’t able to meter it properly with the spot meter, try dropping the exposure compensation (EV) by a stop or two (-1 or -2).

For the exposure, around moonrise the exposure should be less than 1 second. Later, it’ll be longer and up to 20 seconds. You can make things a bit easier by putting the camera in Aperture priority mode and setting the aperture to f/8.0 or narrower, the camera should then adjust the exposure automatically. Remember to adjust the aperture appropriately for your scene and how much of it you want in sharp focus. Just don’t set the exposure beyond 20 seconds or the moon will start to appear blurry due to its movement.

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