How to Photograph the Moon – tutorial

Moon is quite easy to photograph. Moon’s face is brighter than you think. Tripod will be very helpful but it is not necessary to use, especially you can set the shutter speed to e.g. 1/100 sek.

When is the best time to take moon photos?

Beginners think the best time to take a photo is just after the moonrise or moonshine, because moon face is the biggest then. Yes, the face is big (atmosphere works as a magnifier) but unfortunately light has a lot longer way to go through air then the moon is just over a horizon than at zenith. So it is a lot better idea to take photos when the moon is as high as possible, until you want to see the moon on the picture just over the horizon, composed together with trees, houses, mountains etc.

Which moon phase is the best to take a nice photo?

Again, it is depend what you want to see on the picture. In you want to see surface structure (volcanoes, scratches, craters, shadows) it is better to do it when the moon is quoter or crescent. Full moon photos can appear to be flat and the moon can be very bright. To see what is a different please compare photos below.


To avoid a digital noise always use ISO as low as possible (usually ISO100). Lock aperture to f9…f11 and experiment with a time, which should be between 1/40 and 1/125 sek.

Very good link to website showing sunrise and sunset and also moonrise and moonset times is HERE:

Photos of the moon taken by me

moonNIKON D3100 (300mm, f/10, 1/20 sec, ISO100)

All settings manual.




moon_2NIKON D3100 (300mm, f/7.1, 1/160 sec, ISO100)
All settings manual.




full-moonNIKON D3100 (300mm, f/9, 1/125 sec, ISO100)

All settings manual.




moon_3NIKON D7000 (420mm, f/5.6, 1/2000 sec, ISO640)

This picture has been taken during… a day 🙂 Picture has been postprocessed in the LightRoom software, to get dark sky. This picture has a better quality because I bought a better prime telephoto lens.


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