Useful Tips

How to take stunning moon shots


Guys, we put our soul into Bright Side. Thank you for
that you discover this beauty. Thanks for the inspiration and goosebumps.
Join us on Facebook and VKontakte

Every day, new tricks and tricks appear on the Internet that help to cope with any situation and simplify everyday worries. Some are so simple that it is unclear how we had never thought of such a thing before.

Bright Side On the advice of professionals, I have collected 12 tricks for you to take the coolest photo on a regular smartphone.

Headset as a shutter

An obvious feature of the headset is its use as a remote control.

What to do: Connect the headset to the phone, open the camera application and click on the “+” button to take a picture.

Selfie "no hands"

Selfies with lots of people are hard to do. Someone does not always fall into the frame or the hand closes most of the picture. To solve this problem, mount a simple tripod.

What to do: Take an unnecessary plastic card and bend it in three places, you can put the phone on one of the bends. Use headphones or a timer to take a picture from a distance.

Panoramic twins

Use the panoramic function to create doubles in one photo without using graphic editors.

What to do: Select the Panorama mode. Place the person in the frame and begin to smoothly move the smartphone in any direction. As soon as a person is outside the footage, stop or slow down. At this time, the model should run behind your back in the next frame.

Little earth

Use various applications to give your pictures interesting effects. For example, the RollWorld application can make a thumbnail of the globe out of your photo.

What to do: Download the application and upload a pre-made panorama or other interesting photo there. Experiment with the settings and you will get a unique, fantastic picture.

Underwater pictures

Shooting in water or under water on a smartphone is much more convenient than using a conventional camera. In this case, you do not have to buy a protective case.

What to do: Dip the phone in an ordinary transparent glass, and lower the glass 2/3 into the water. Use the headset as a remote control. For photos in depth, put a condom on your gadget. This will protect it from moisture, and the sensor will be just as sensitive.

Use a reflector

When shooting portraits, sometimes you need to highlight a dark area, add depth and brightness. For this task, any reflective surface is suitable.

What to do: Take a solar reflector for your car or plain foil. Using reflective material, you can highlight dark areas or add glare to your photo.

Use the HDR function

The HDR function combines several different brightness pictures into one. Because of this, the photos are more vivid, voluminous and saturated.

What to do: Open the camera, turn on the HDR function and take a picture.

Tip: Photos taken in this mode take up more space in the smartphone’s memory, so use this function in special cases. For example, if you want to capture a sunset, green trees or beautiful flowers.

Attach the phone to the balloon

To take a picture of the landscape from a height, it is not at all necessary to buy an expensive drone. You can attach the phone to a balloon.

What to do: Take a large balloon filled with helium. Firmly attach the telephone and a strong thread to it. Launch the ball and take a picture using the timer.

Tip: Put a protective case on the smartphone and turn on the phone search function. This will save your device if something goes wrong.


Unfortunately, when shooting macro shots, smartphones are not doing their best. But you can solve this problem with a miniature lens.

What to do: A small lens can be found in any laser pointer or keychain flashlight. Fix the lens to the lens of the smartphone with a pin and masking tape. Now you can take stunning macro shots.

Glasses as a polarizing filter

With the help of sunglasses, you can make the water more transparent, remove glare and give the sky a beautiful color.

What to do: Just take a picture through the lens of the glasses. If you want to remove glare, check that the glasses have a polarizing effect.

The moon is brighter than you think

A full moon reflects only a small fraction of the sunlight falling on it. But this is still enough to make the night brighter. On a cloudless night, thanks to the silver light of the full moon, you can easily understand where you are going. This is not daylight, but not dull darkness! Even the crescent is brighter than it seems. However, since the moon occupies only a small part of the dark night sky, the exposure meter is often mistaken when flashing images, making it look like a white light bulb, as in the photo below. You will need a combination of slower shutter speed and / or a narrow aperture to clearly capture the details of the lunar surface. Below will be a subtitle Camera settings - in it you will find more information.

It can also create problems if your composition includes landscape elements. The settings needed to capture the foreground can dramatically differ from those required for the detail of the moon. In this case, mixing of two images may come to the rescue, one with the correctly exposed moon, and the second with the correct landscape. I try not to work with HDR because in the time that has passed between the two shots, the moon shifts a little. Twilight shooting usually provides enough light to capture the full dynamic range in a single photograph.

Full moon over the Snake River, Wyoming. The exposure meter took the picture too bright, turning the moon into a light bulb.

The moon moves faster than you think

The moon rotates around the earth at a speed of 3683 km / h. The earth rotates at a speed of 1600 km / h. It's very fast! If you look at the sky, you can determine that the moon moves 15 degrees every hour. If you observed a recent (August 2017) solar eclipse, then you yourself saw how fast the moon moves. Therefore, if you want to get a sharp and detailed shot, set the shutter speed to no higher than 1/125, but the smaller the better. It is also highly advisable to remove from a tripod.

The moon is smaller than you think

Composite image, the moon on which was too bright. I added it from the same photograph taken with a darker exposure.

The distance from the Earth to the Moon is approximately 384,403 km. Although it seems rather large to the eye, especially near the horizon (this phenomenon is known as the “moon illusion”), the camera’s sensor sees it differently. Choosing a lens here is critical. A wide-angle lens will make it very tiny, and with a 50mm lens it will only be a little larger. If you want to have visible details on the surface of the moon, you will need at least 300mm (for a full-frame camera). The larger the focal length, the better, especially if you want to fill the frame with the moon. At the moment I have only one lens of this range - 70-200mm and I'm starting to take pretty good pictures of the moon, so in the future I plan to buy a lens with a large FR, for example, 150-600mm Sigma or Tamron.

Shooting with long lenses is another reason to use a tripod, pre-lift the mirror or an external shutter button and a slow shutter speed.

However, problems with this lens may occur if you want to include foreground elements in the composition. Even a 300mm lens will not allow to capture a sufficient part of the landscape, and it will not be able to be simultaneously sharp at a distance of 3 meters and infinity. The simplest solution is to move away by including more distant elements of the landscape, for example, the top of a hill or the silhouette of a distant tree. The way telephoto lenses shorten the distance will emphasize the foreground and apparently reduce the distance between it and the moon.

If you want the moon to fill the frame, you do not need depth of field, so you can set the aperture value to f / 8 or even f / 5.6 (often these values ​​are the sharpest in the lens), and also set an even faster shutter speed by minimizing camera movement and getting maximum sharpness.

Camera settings

Sharpness is a key factor. Use the best aperture of your lens (f / 5.6, f / 8 or f / 11).

If your camera has an exposure metering mode, try zooming in and measuring the moon, then activate exposure compensation by darkening the frame by 2 stops (-2 EV).

Some photographers use the “f / 11 moon rule” (similar to the f / 16 rule for sunlight). Its essence is that you set the aperture to f / 11 and use a shutter speed that is approximately equal to the reciprocal of the ISO value, for example, 1/125 at ISO 100 and f / 11. Shooting the full moon I got good results with a shorter shutter speed - ISO 100, f / 11 and 1/200. Some even manage to shoot at f / 11 and shutter speed 1/320! The distance will always be different, in addition, you need to make small corrections depending on the phase of the moon. Start with ISO 100, f / 11 and 1/200, then adjust based on the current situation. Be sure to turn on the “beacons” (icons on the camera screen), informing about the flare flare.

If possible, focus using Live View. You can try to set the focus ring at the infinity mark, but some cameras allow you to focus even after this mark, resulting in a blurry image. In such a situation, focus on a very distant subject in the daytime. Remember in what position the lens ring was, the field of which manually set this position when the time comes for shooting the moon.

Even with a slow shutter speed, you need to minimize camera movements. Especially with large focal lengths when everycamera movement is critical. I recommend using a tripod and turning off image stabilization. I also use the remote shutter button and activate the mirror pre-lift. However, the timer will do well too. One more thing - you do not need any filters, even UV. Take them off!

When, where and what to shoot

Moonrise over the gorge of the Potomac River in the area of ​​Great Falls.

I would start planning with PhotoPills or Photographers Ephemeris. Both applications allow you to plan time and place, and also allow you to roughly imagine the picture.

Some photographers prefer to shoot the day before the calendar full moon. They say that there is a small but noticeable difference in the balancing of light between the landscape and the moon. Honestly, I did not see any difference and always plan a shot looking for an evening with the cleanest or most spectacular sky - be it the full moon, the day before or the day after.

It’s very good to shoot right before the moon rises or sets - during the evening or morning twilight. This will allow you to include landscape or building elements in the frame to create a specific context. I like to shoot at a time when the sun is somewhere between 0.5 degrees above the horizon and 5 degrees below (this information can be found in one of the applications mentioned above). The residual light present during this period illuminates the landscape well, so you can often capture the full dynamic range in one shot. In addition, the golden light creates a pleasant orange shade of the moon.

If you photograph only the moon or if it does not appear before dark, wait until it rises higher. There will be less residual light in the atmosphere and you will get a cleaner shot.

Do not limit yourself to shooting exclusively full moons. With the crescent, great shots are also obtained. However, it needs to be photographed only when it is above the horizon and the sky is not too dark. Otherwise, the dark part of the moon, distracting from the main subject, will most likely be visible in the image.

One more thing - try shooting not only in the evening. The moonlit morning can be amazing!

Plan, plan and plan again

Schedule a snapshot with Photographer's Ephemeris. From the observation point 1, the moonrise over the gorge will be visible at about 20:30.

I like to plan my photographs of the moon so that they have some interesting element of the landscape. For photography in the Grace Falls area, I used Photographer's Ephemeris and PhotoPills, determining that the moon would rise over the gorge of the Potomac River and be visible from Point 1 and 2 in Great Falls Park, Virginia (screenshot above). When I reached the location, I found that vegetation interfered with the view from the second point, so I went to the first. The moon was clearly visible for about 5 minutes, and then began to hide behind the clouds. If I hadn’t planned everything in advance, but ran in search of a good place, then I missed the picture.

PhotoPills has a plan for a “monumental” moonrise

Using the rGPS (Really Good Photo Spots) application, I know that on the night of October 5, 2017, when there will be the next full moon, at about 19:15 I can get great photos. In front of the Netherlands Carillon, next to the US Marine Corps Memorial, the moon will be visible over the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument and the Capitol. This is about half an hour after sunset, and since the monuments are lit at night, you can take a cool shot! (Screenshot from PhotoPills above).

Decisions, decisions and once again decisions

Last but not least, a set of questions to be faced with - how to photograph the moon?

The moon looks amazing in all phases. The form in which it is captured depends on where you are and what effect you are trying to achieve. Try to work with different phases.

Should the moon fill the frame? If so, you need a lens with a large focal length and better to shoot late at night, when the moon is high in the sky. In this case, it is not very important where exactly you are standing, because the foreground and landscape elements will still not fall into the frame.

Perhaps the moon will not be in the photo at all. The landscape illuminated by the light of the full moon itself looks amazing. When I took a photo of the night sky in Zion National Park, the moon was behind me. She lit the mountain and, since there was no moon in the frame, her light did not overshadow the stars.

It’s not necessary to wait for clear nights. If the forecast promises cloudy, this is not a reason to stay at home! You can get dynamic and mystical photos of the moon, partially or almost completely covered with clouds.

All of the above leads us to the final conclusion: the full moon overshadows the stars, only if it is not behind you. The crescent will eclipse some of the stars. There will be brighter ones, for example, the constellation Ursa Major, but thousands of stars can be obtained only late at night, without a moon in the frame and with a good sensor.

Very soon, a new full (or just) moon will rise in the sky, so look at the calendar, prepare your gear and go take amazing photos!

1. Add light to the shadows and darken the highlights

Most photo editing tools have options for adjusting light and shadows. And you need to use it.

To enhance nature photography, Cole balanced the exposure by adding light to the shadows and darkening the highlights a bit. He also applied the Winsy filter from the collection of the Litely application to the photo to bring warm colors to the image.

2. Add a vignette and shadow effect to brighten the photo

The vignetting effect adds a dark border around the perimeter of the photo and brightens its middle. This is one of Cole's favorite tricks. The original photo would be too dark, so Cole increased saturation and added a bit of sharpness to separate the balloon from the landscape. This allowed to keep the photo natural.

3. Edit the image and then return all settings back to 50%

It is very important.

The trick is to make your photo look natural. Edit the image as you used to do it, and then return all settings back to 50%.

Last year, Instagram users finally got the opportunity to control the power of the filters. To use these settings, simply select a filter, and then click on it again.

And one more tip: do not use the LUX tool on Instagram. His task is to correct the lack of contrast, which makes the photo unnatural.

4. Capture people wherever possible

Landscapes look better when there are people on them. The person in the photograph is able to convey feelings. The best example of how people add personality to a photograph is the work of Murad Osmann, who photographs himself holding his girlfriend's hand in different parts of the world (follow me series).

6. Try taking pictures by leaning out of a car window

You will never know in advance what you will succeed. In the case of the iPhone, just hold down the shutter button and hold to take pictures in burst mode. На смартфоне под управлением Android можно включить серийную съёмку, выбрав в настройках камеры соответствующий режим (Burst Mode). На смартфонах Sаmsung он может называться Burst Shot. При создании этой фотографии Коул использовал Slow Shutter Cam, чтобы добавить эффект размытости.

10. При съёмке пейзажей нажимайте на кнопку регулировки громкости, чтобы спустить затвор

Вы знали, что можно просто открыть камеру в iPhone и нажать кнопку регулировки громкости, чтобы сделать снимок? Это же справедливо для телефонов под управлением Android. In Samsung Galaxy S4, assign the shutter function to the volume button in the settings instead of the default zoom function. Such castling of buttons will make it more convenient to take the phone to avoid the effect of “shaking hands”, which can ruin the photo.

12. Do not draw attention or carry a backpack.

A tourist hung with gadgets is a great bait for thieves. While traveling, Cole never puts on provocative clothes, keeps his camera and phone close to himself and always leaves his backpack at home. Before filming a merchant or just a person on the street, be sure to ask his permission. You will be surprised how responsive people are.

14. Be prepared to shoot even in the most unexpected moments.

It is not always possible to thoroughly prepare for the shooting, unexpected moments also happen. Like, for example, this shot with a low flying airplane. Therefore, if you do not want to miss excellent shots, learn the hot keys of your phone. For example, Samsung smartphones in the settings have the Camera Quick Access option. And the new Galaxy S6 has built-in hot keys, you just need to double-click the Home button.