Best Camera Settings For Full Moon

By | 27/10/2022

Another Supermoon is approaching!

Are you looking for new ideas for the shot, looking for a new challenge?

If that’due south the case, y’all’re at the right place… permit me help y’all unchain your creative potential.


Location power, inspiration, equipment and the following tips are the ingredients you need to have in the mix in order to come up with the all-time cocktail for the Supermoon.

It all begins past deciding how large you want the moon in your photos. Are you fix?

7 Tips to Make the Side by side Supermoon Shine in Your Photos

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7 Tips to Make the Next Supermoon Shine in Your Photos

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seven Tips to Brand the Next Supermoon Shine in Your Photos


  1. Focal length defines how big the moon will appear in the photo
  2. Go to a location with an interesting subject area, a beautiful landscape and space to move
  3. The shooting spot determines the size of the moon relative to your field of study
  4. The thought, your imagination makes the deviation
  5. The plan, finding the right shooting time and the right shooting spot
  6. How to shoot the Supermoon
  7. Just exercise information technology!

1Focal length defines how big the moon will announced in the photo

When brainstorming, you demand to take into account the lens you take available, because focal length determines the size of the moon in the photo. In other words, field of view determines how much area the moon will cover in the epitome.

Moon as a dot, wide angle lens

Employ a wide angle or a fish-center lens (8-35mm) when you want to emphasize the beauty of the landscape. Thanks to the wider angle of view, you’ll capture a large expanse of the landscape showing all its beauty. The cons is that the moon will announced equally a small brilliant dot in the heaven. In this case, if you want to include a discipline in the foreground, you’ll need to go closer to information technology.

Nikon D700 | 24mm | f/2.0 | one/8s | ISO 3200 | 3650K
07/08/14 10:09 pm | Lord’s day elevation: -13.8° (Astronomical Twilight) | Moon elevation: 29.6°

Nikon D700 | 14mm | f/ii.8 |15s | ISO 200 | 10050K
04/05/14 08:57pm | Lord’s day elevation: -ix.ane° (Nautical Twilight) | Moon elevation: 53.8°

Pocket-sized moon, medium range focal length

Past using brusk to medium focal lengths (50-200mm), the angle of view is narrower, increasing a piffling bit the size of the moon in the frame, and reducing the area of the landscape captured. The moon appears pretty small-scale in the photo, but its presence gains importance in relation with the landscape.

Nikon 4Ds | 145mm | f/vi.0 |1/8s | ISO 200 | 5850K
07/12/fourteen 09:26pm | Sun elevation: -2.8° (Golden Hr) | Moon elevation: iii.2°

Nikon D700 | 85mm | f/13 | 8s | ISO 200 | 3550K
12/04/13 06:09pm | Sun elevation: -nine.4° (Nautical Twilight) | Moon acme: ix.iii°

Big moon, long focal lengths

Finally, if you want the moon to be the main attraction in the photograph, go for focal lengths of 400mm, 500mm and across. Depending on the thought you have, you tin use a teleconverter (for case, a 2x) to increment your focal length and capture a behemothic moon.

By using such a long focal length, y’all’re reducing the angle of view and then much that you’ll only capture the moon and the subject in the frame, neglecting the landscape. In this instance, you’ll demand to get far from the master subject field (more than 1km). It’s the case of the typical long distance shots.

Nikon D7100 | 500mm | f/v.0 |1s | ISO 400 | 5400K
06/13/14 09:41pm | Sun meridian: -5.1° (Blue 60 minutes) | Moon elevation: 1.three°

Now that you’ve decided how big you want the moon in the photo in relation with the frame, begin to think where to go!

2Go to a location with an interesting discipline, a cute landscape and space to move

Sure you know many cute places for the shooting of the supermoon, powerful locations with a magic atmosphere to inspire you. In my stance, a great location is the one that combines these three characteristics.

An interesting subject area

It tin can be anything, a rock, a tree, a lighthouse, a building, an aboriginal construction. Anything that motivates you to create a story, a plot with a very special leading extra: the Supermoon.

Nikon D7100 | 500mm | f/five.0 |1/500s | ISO 6350K
05/14/14 08:45pm | Sun top: 0.eight° (Golden 60 minutes) | Moon height: 0.4°

A beautiful landscape

Some photographers state that a location can make y’all win an honor… and they have a point. So, if you’re then lucky to alive near such a magic location as Gaztelugatxe, don’t hesitate it. It’southward where you lot must go.

Photo past my Master and friend: Jose Benito Ruiz. Gaztelugatxe in Biscay, Basque Country, Spain.

Space to motion

Ok, pay attention now, this is key!

The all-time moment to shoot the supermoon is during moonrise and moonset, which always happens during the aureate hour at dusk or sunrise. It’due south when the color of the sky goes from yellow to orange, in a gilt tones. This soft lite is perfect for capturing the moon and the landscape in a single exposure. Have a expect at one of our all-time articles to learn more virtually lite, gilded hr, blueish hour and twilights.

Allow’s say that you decide to shoot the moon at moonrise. So, given a location, the alignment of the moon is adamant by the moonrise. The moon only rises once a twenty-four hours and in one management (or alignment).

Therefore, if yous desire the moon to rise in a determined position in the frame, it’s better to go to a location where you can choose the shooting spot based on your desired moon alignment in relation with landscape and main subject.

Punta Nati in Ciutadella, Menorca, Spain. One of our favourite locations with plenty of space to move.

For a given date, and thus for a given moonrise alignment, if y’all go to a location where you lot cannot alter the shooting spot at your will, you’ll have a limited number of possible shots. You lot’re actually putting a limit to your imagination.

Photography is all about creativity and the less constraints the improve.

3The shooting spot determines the size of the moon relative to your subject area

I know that this is a very avant-garde topic, very few people know this. But, it is of import that you start scaling!

Well-nigh people believe that the size of the moon relative to the size of a subject (construction, tree, rock) is determined past focal length. Simply the truth is that focal length has nothing to do with it.

Equally I explained in the start section of this post, focal length determines how big the moon volition announced in the photo compared to the frame (field of view). Just, information technology is the altitude betwixt the shooting spot and your subject that determines how big the moon will appear to exist in relation with the subject. This is due to the angular diameter of the moon.

Therefore, depending on the image that you lot have in mind, y’all’ll need to cull a shooting spot that is at the altitude that gives you the desired size of the moon compared with your bailiwick.

The following drawing shows a possible idea for a shot, a possible composition between an old stone structure and the moon.

Given the dimensions of the construction, I decided the size of the moon. And this is the resulting shot!

Nikon D300s | 500mm | f/five.0 |i/20s | ISO 800 | 6500K
09/20/13 08:20pm | Lord’s day peak: -vii.5° (Nautical Twilight) | Moon pinnacle: ane.4°

If you want to learn how to summate the shooting distance for a given moon size, have a look at the following article: How To Programme The Next Total Moon.

In this article, information technology’s explained how to assess the diameter of the moon past using the angular diameter of the moon, the shooting distance from the subject, your lens angle of view and the resulting field of view.

There is an easier way to calculate the shooting distance, but utilize the following equation:

Shooting Distance = Moon Diameter / [ii × tan(Moon Athwart Diameter/2)]

For case, if we assume that the total moon has an angular diameter of 0.556°, then the equation is:

Shooting Distance = Moon Diameter × 103.05

And then, if your subject is seven chiliad tall and 10 yard wide, and you lot desire a moon with an apparent diameter of 10m, the shooting distance should be approximately 1,030.50m (10m × 103.05).

You tin find the angular bore of the moon for a given 24-hour interval within PhotoPills’ Moon Pill.

Have a look at the equation above. The multiplying factor (103.05) is pretty close to 100. Therefore, in practise, we use what nosotros call the PhotoPills Rule of 100:

And then, just multiply the size of the Moon y’all desire compared to your subject by 100 and you’ll get the shooting distance!!

After this tough section, what about a little chip of inspiration?

ivThe thought, your imagination makes the difference

My goal now is to give you lot a few examples in the promise of inspiring y’all. Merely, of course, creativity and imagination have no rules. Simply go out and shoot what you really love shooting.

Tell the whole story

Why showing only one pic when you tin tell the whole story? And my story talks nigh the total moon rise happening just behind the highest acme in Menorca: “Monte Toro”.

Nikon D7100 | 500mm | f/five.0 |1s | ISO 400 | 5400K
06/thirteen/14 09:41pm | Sun elevation: -five.1° (Blueish Hour) | Moon superlative: 1.three°

Full moon silhouettes

Shooting a full moon silhouette is really fun, just living the moment is just basics. The full moon gives you the perfect theatre for an crawly night prove. In this case, I wanted to tell the story of ii kids playing with a kite in a windy twenty-four hour period.

Nikon D7100 | 500mm | f/8 | 1/200s | ISO 400 | 5400K
11/07/14 07:28pm | Sun height: -10.iv° (Nautical Twilight) | Moon elevation: 1.five°

Full Moon Silhouettes in a video

Video? Why not? You lot can do similar Mark Gee and shoot a stunning video showing how the full moon discovers the action happening in the dark. Mark’s video went viral a few hours afterward published!

Wish to crate your own full Moon silhouettes videos? In the post-obit article we give you lot all you lot need: How To Shoot Striking Full Moon Silhouettes Videos


Framing the moon with a subject can result in bang-up images. In this photo, I’m capturing the moon under a actually beautiful natural bridge in Menorca, called “Es Pont d’en Gil”.

Nikon D700 | 150mm | f/5.0 |0.3s | ISO 400 |7100K
05/fourteen/14 06:09am | Sun elevation: -4.5° (Blueish Hour) | Moon elevation: i.1°


Ok, I know, this is non a full moon, only I desire you to encounter this photo as an instance of shooting the part of the moon in shade.

Also known equally “Earth Polish”, the residue calorie-free that the moon receives from Globe allows u.s.a. to capture detail on the part of the moon in shade.

Nikon D7100 | 500mm | f/viii.0 | 1s | ISO 1600 | 3400K

Aligned with a street in your urban center

Information technology’south incredible how many things can happen in the streets. Exist ready to live an take chances and a challenging experience.

Nikon D700 | 500mm | f/iv.0 |1/30s | ISO 1600 | 5550K
06/23/thirteen 06:11am | Dominicus superlative: -1.half dozen° (Gold Hour) | Moon meridian: 0.4°


Joining the full moon and water, it’s always a expert idea.

Nikon D700 | 24mm | f/8.0 |15s | ISO 200 | 5700K
12/07/14 10:05pm | Sun superlative: -8.9° (Nautical Twilight) | Supermoon elevation: nine.five°

Ideas are great, merely as Katherine Paterson said…

“A dream without a plan is just a wish”

And, when it comes to the moon, planning is compulsory. The moon moves fast, so you need to be at the correct spot at the correct time or you lot’ll miss the shot.

Let’due south programme your dreams!

vThe plan, finding the correct shooting time and the right shooting spot

As Clint Eastwood would say:

“Yous encounter, the Plan has two parts, my friend: finding the correct time to shoot and finding the correct shooting spot, and you must observe both”

Once I know the location, the thought (where you want the moon in the frame) and the shooting distance, this is how I plan my shots with PhotoPills. Let’s meet the example of the composition between the moon and the former construction explained in chapter three, step by step:

  • In the Planner, bring the Observer’southward Pin (red pin) to the location in study. In this example, the location is Punta Nati, Menorca.
  • Set the date and rise time of the Supermoon: Let’s take as an case the supermoon of Saturday, Baronial 29th 2015. The rise time was 8:07pm. Remember that the exact date and time depends on your desired location. Find out when is the next Supermoon happenning with the lunar calendar you have in the Moon Pill (Pills Menu) of PhotoPills. All Supermoons appear in a yellowish circle in the calenar.
  • Place the Observer’s Pin (ruddy pin) in a shooting spot that:
    • The thick light blue line you see on the map (moonrise direction) is aligned with the direction I want the moon to be. Let’s say that I desire the moon to be just behind my subject. And so the thick light blue line has to fall right on my subject area.
    • The shooting spot is at the calculated shooting distance from the subject (to get the desired size of the moon compared with the size of the subject): 1km in the example, because I want a moon with an apparent bore of more or less 10m.
  • Identify the Obstacle’s Pin (black pin) on my subject and bank check topography height to notice out whether the moon volition be subconscious past the terrain. Remember that at moonrise, the acme of the moon is 0°. Then, if the relative elevation betwixt the footing level of the subject’s location and the basis level of the shooting spot is not 0°, moonrise will non be visible. Learn how to use the Obstacle’south Pin with this video: Planner: Geodesic Information.
  • If moonrise is visible, then I check moonrise time and I’m washed. I know: engagement, shooting time and shooting spot.
  • If moonrise is not visible due to the higher pinnacle of the terrain. By moving fourth dimension forwards, I notice the time the moon is at an elevation equal or slightly higher that the elevation of the terrain. Finally, I choose a new shooting spot where the thin light blue line (management of the moon for the selected time) falls on my bailiwick. That’s it, I take the plan. I know: date, shooting time and shooting spot.

It’south easier than it looks, it simply requires a little bit of practice. In our Academy yous’ll find 11 videos to assist you lot master PhotoPills’ Planner. Yous can practice it too!

These are the options for shooting the supermoon and the rock construction. I’ve placed the Obstruction’s pin on my discipline and calculated two options for the shooting spot and shooting fourth dimension: Plan A and Plan B.

  • In Plan A, I desire to shoot the total moon behind the structure at exactly moonrise (moon’s acme is 0°) at 8:07pm. The trouble is that the ground level of the construction is at an meridian of ii.five° seen from the shooting spot. The moon will not be visible. It’s not a skilful plan!
  • Plan B is the best programme. From this new shooting spot, at 8.23pm, I’ll be able to capture the moon at two.5°. The full moon is but appearing from behind my bailiwick. Besides, the sunday is at an acme of -1.2° (subsequently sunset). Natural light conditions will be crawly for capturing the mural and the moon in 1 single exposure.

Likewise, to help you in the process, we’ve prepared the following articles and videos. Have a look at them and I promise yous’ll become a PhotoPills Master:

  • How To Programme The Adjacent Full Moon
  • Planner: Find a Sun or Moon over a mount (video)
  • How to Shoot Striking Full Moon Silhouettes videos

6How to shoot the Supermoon


The necessary equipment is composed past: dslr camera, desired lens (wide angle, telephoto, teleconverter), sturdy tripod, a head (ideally a Gimbal caput), remote shutter release cablevision.

The tripod

When you get to the location, place the tripod right at the planned shooting spot and make certain it is stable.

Disable lens stabilization

If your lens includes a role to stabilize vibrations when shooting handheld, disable it. Since y’all’ll be using a tripod, this role might try to compensate vibrations that don’t exist and blur your images. You don’t want to get a blurred moon afterward all the planning, right?

Likewise, use a remote shutter release cable o device to avoid camera shake caused by your hands. In the same way, I recommend you to turn Exposure Delay/Mirror Lock Up on to avoid a possible camera shake acquired by the mirror slap before the exposure.

Finally, if you don’t take a shutter release or you left it at domicile, set up the photographic camera to a timer. This way, you’ll also prevent camera shake acquired by both your hands and the mirror slap.

Remove the UV filter

Ultraviolet filters (UV) are groovy to protect your lens, only y’all don’t need an extra glass on your lens for this shot. Remove it!

Shoot in Raw

Always shoot it RAW. This image file format allows yous to use paradigm data recorded past the camera sensor to produce college quality images than JPG.

Shoot in manual

Shooting in manual gives yous the total command over exposure by adjusting shutter speed, aperture and ISO at you will.

Focal length

Your desired composition determines the focal length to use. If you wish to capture as much landscape every bit possible, while getting a tiny moon, become for a short focal length (8-35mm). If you have a foreground subject to which you want to give importance, get closer to it.

On the contrary, if you want to capture a big moon compared with the frame and the subject, utilize a focal length of 400mm, 500mm (or more, use a teleconverter if necessary) and go far away from the subject. What distance exactly? It depends on the size of the moon you want. Go back to chapter 3.

Exposure: ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture

The shooting fourth dimension you’ve planned will give y’all as well the height of the dominicus and, thus, the light atmospheric condition you’ll have and the exposure you’ll demand. Natural light conditions decide how bright the moon is compared to the landscape.

When information technology’s too nighttime (sun’due south acme below -6°), the moon is very bright and the landscape very dark. On the one hand, if you expose for the landscape, you’ll go an overexposed moon. The moon will appear equally a white circle in the photo. On the other hand, if you betrayal for the moon, you’ll go an underexposed landscape (platonic when shooting full moon silhouettes).

If your intention is to take both the moon and the mural correctly exposed, you lot have two options: shoot two exposures and and then alloy them or shoot during the gilded hour or bluish 60 minutes (taking reward of city lights to low-cal the foreground).

In that location is another possibility. If you lot accept a photographic camera that allows you to shoot multiple exposures, then, you’ll be able to become the prototype in i single RAW.

Apart from the peak of the sun (the light you lot’ll have), you need to take into account that the moon moves quickly in the sky, so y’all’ll have to use a fast shutter speed to avoid capturing the moon trailing.

Nether each photo in this postal service, you lot’ll detect the EXIF information with the ISO, shutter speed and discontinuity used. Check them out and try to understand what type of natural light y’all run into in the photo.

What’s the right exposure? Well, this is what I practice depending on the elevation of the sunday.

Gilded hour before sunset or later on sunrise (sun pinnacle between 6 and 0 degrees):

When the sun is above the horizon, the moon has a pale hue. Information technology is less visible and as well less interesting. But when the lord’s day has elevations under one°, the moon starts gaining power.

Recommended exposure settings:

  • Aperture: f/8 or wider, like f/five or f/v.6, depending on the corporeality of light bachelor (less lite).
  • Shutter speed: between one/200 and 1/viii.
  • ISO: I starting time with the camera’southward base ISO (typically ISO 100 or 200 depending on the camera) and I button the ISO up depending on the light conditions. ISO value should stay between 100 and 1600.

Golden hr after sunset or earlier sunrise (sun peak betwixt 0 and -4 degrees):

This type of natural low-cal allows you to capture the right colors and texture of the moon and landscape with ane single exposure. The more the lord’s day goes downwardly, the less light available and the more than difficulties when exposing. There’ll be a moment when the moon volition start to get overexposed. During this function of the aureate hour, lite changes very quickly.

Recommended exposure settings:

  • Aperture: probably you’ll start with an discontinuity of f/8. But, as times goes by, you’ll have to fix the maximum aperture in your lens. This will allow you to increment the amount of light collected and avoid increasing the ISO more than necessary. Usually, this apertures are f/4 or f/5.6 if you’re using a telephoto lense. Or even, smaller if you’re using a teleconverter.
  • Shutter speed: betwixt 1/100 and 1 second.
  • ISO: between 200 and 400, but yous might need to increment information technology to compensate exposure.

Blue 60 minutes (sun acme between -four and -6 degrees):

I dearest shooting the moon during the blue hour in a city scape. Artificial light will light the landscape making it possible to capture both moon and landscape in a single exposure. When y’all’re shooting outside the urban center, in nature, you’ll probably get an overexposed moon. Unless, you’ve decided to go the moon correctly exposed. Then, the landscape will look underexposed.

Recommended exposure settings:

  • Discontinuity: I usually become for smaller apertures (f/11 and f/sixteen) to go streetlights as brilliant stars.
  • Shutter speed: in this example, I showtime set ISO and and then choose the shutter speed to become a well exposed image. Shutter speed can vary from i/250s to 3 seconds. Pay attending to the motion of the moon. When you use wearisome shutter speeds, the risk is to capture the moon trailing.
  • ISO: between 200-400. Push information technology up if you demand to compensate exposure.

Nautical twilight, astronomical twilight and nighttime (sun elevation under -6 degrees):

If you’re shooting in the city, y’all’ll probably achieve practiced results using the aforementioned settings as during the Blue hour. Just, if yous’re in the great outdoors, it’southward meliorate to use a wide bending lens to capture as much landscape every bit possible, taking advantage of the position of the small overexposed moon in your limerick. The 2d photo of this post is an example.

In this case, exposure depends on the result you desire to achieve. If you wish to capture stars equally large bright spots, the all-time option is to use the widest aperture, use PhotoPills’ Spot Stars calculator to summate the maximum exposure time and increase ISO to compensate exposure. The ISO value volition depend on the racket operation of your photographic camera. It should be between 400 and 3200.

On the other hand, if yous wish the sky to look continuous and silky,  or the traces of the clouds while moving (capturing the move of clouds), you can close a little more the aperture and lower the ISO to increment the exposure fourth dimension. Note that the moon volition leave a very thick trail, which sometimes can be quite unpleasant. So adjust exposure time in guild to capture the moon as you wish.

As information technology happens during the blue hour, if y’all want the moon to accept the shape of a star, use apertures of f/11 or f/xvi, and compensate exposure adjusting shutter speed and ISO.

When I shoot with a telephoto lens, and the exposure time is beneath 1/125s, I always utilise a shutter release cable together with the Exposure Delay/Mirror Lock Up enabled to avert a possible camera milkshake.

Full moon silhouettes:

Shooting this blazon of photos is awesome, merely shooting a video is addictive. I establish it out subsequently watching Mark Gee’s Total Moon Silhouettes video. Since that moment, I cannot stop imagining, planning and shooting silhouettes using the total moon as a theatre stage.

You’ll demand a telephoto lens, ideally 500mm or 600mm. Also, a teleconverter is very useful.

Recommended exposure settings:

  • Aperture: the maximum aperture possible when combining telephoto lense and teleconverter (f/4, f/8). Y’all need to collect as much light as possible, in the shortest time possible, to forbid your master bailiwick to appear completely blurred.
  • Shutter speed: when shooting a video, use a shutter speed that is twice the video frame rate (fps). For example, if the video frame charge per unit is 24 fps, shutter speed should be 1/50. When shooting a movie, use a shutter speed of ane/50 or faster. The key betoken here is to avoid blur.
  • ISO: information technology’s the setting I employ to lucifer exposure. Its value should exist around 400.


The goal here is to maximize depth of field to have the landscape and the moon in precipitous focus. Where to focus depends on the focal lens choice and the area covered by the mural:

  • Brusque focal lengths (eight-35mm): Focus the lens at the hyperfocal altitude, ever making certain that you’re not falling short. It’south better to focus a little bit further than the hyperfocal distance. This will ensure that everything at the horizon is in focus. Falling brusk volition blur all the elements at the horizon (mountains, the moon). Y’all tin can calculate the hyperfocal distance using our depth of field estimator for a given focal length, aperture and photographic camera model.
  • Longer focal lengths (50-500mm and more than): When the landscape covers an of import area in the prototype, you should focus the lens virtually a 3rd of the way into the frame. But when most of the photo is covered by the moon and the subject, so yous must focus on the subject. The typical example are the total moon silhouettes.

White Balance

Set white balance to manual. Depending on your focal length choice and the colors in the heaven, I recommend you to play with this numbers:

  • When shooting with a telephoto lense (400mm, 500mm and across), I use the white residuum for the color of the moon: 3400K.
  • When you want to include the mural in the photograph and, thus, you use a curt focal length, my white balance choice depends on the colors I run across in the landscape:
    • To potentiate blue tones, I employ a white balance between 3400K to 5000K
    • To potentiate gilt tones, I use a white balance between 6000K to 7500K.

7Just exercise it!


Congratulations, you have everything!

The location, the idea, the planning and the camera settings… all y’all demand to shoot a nifty motion-picture show of the Supermoon.

All you take to do is to take activeness and shoot information technology!

As you know, imagining and planning is fun, only shooting and living the experience is priceless.

And if you neglect considering of conditions, bad framing, wrong planning, incorrect settings… Well, this is how we all improve. Don’t surrender, go on learning and fighting against all sort of adversities. Sooner or later, you’ll nail it!

As y’all already know: PhotoPillers never requite upwards!

At that place’ll be other opportunities.

Observe out when is the side by side Supermoon happenning with the lunar calendar y’all take in the Moon Pill (Pills Menu) of PhotoPills. All Supermoons appear in a yellow circle in the calenar.

Whether you succeed or neglect, I’d dearest to encounter your shots. Simply submit them to the PhotoPills Awards 🙂

Happy Supermoon!

7 Tips to Make the Next Supermoon Shine in Your Photos

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