How to take a picture of the Moon

A bunch of people emailed me to ask me how I got my shots of the moon, so I thought I'd share how I did it.  After some research and several evenings outside and I finally got the moon picture that I wanted.

Here's how I did it.

I was using my Canon 40D SLR, a tripod and my 75mm-300mm lens.  (I think you can do this with your kit lens on your SLR, it will just require some post-processing cropping.)

I also went out just as the moon was rising in the sky.  The earlier in the evening, the closer it looks, so you won't need some crazy zoom lens. ;)
  • Shooting in manual mode.
  • The moon is very bright, so set your ISO to 100
  • I set my Aperture -  f/5
  • I set my Shutter - 1/80 sec.
  • Because you're lens is fully extended, you will get a lot of shake every time you touch the camera.  To avoid the shaky photo, I always set the 10-second self timer, so my camera has a chance to settle before it takes the picture.  (If you have a remote for your shutter, even better, I didn't have one.)
  • Finally, the best tip - Turn OFF the Auto Focus on the Lens!  Manually focus your lens.  Trust me your eye can see the details better than the lens trying to find it in the dark sky.
  • Adjust the focus just slightly after every shot
I usually take between 15 and 20 shots and I adjust the focus after every shot.  Sounds crazy, but usually out of the 15 shots, there is always one that is focused better than the others.

Let me know if this works for you!



The Avery House said...

Leigh this shot of the moon is incredible! You did a fantastic job. Thanks for the tips. Not sure if I can do as good a job as you have, but you have inspired me. Thanks too for stopping by my blog today! I really appreciate your comments!

elizabeth said...

thanks for sharing how it's done - can't wait for the next full moon

Natalie said...

That is an extremely detailed shot! Thanks for the tips! I'll have to try that. Also, I see you have the Canon 40D. I am thinking about upgrading. I have a sony A230 which is considered a begginer's DSLR and I've learned tons from it but feel its time to move up on the camera ladder. I considered moving up to a different Sony body but have heard TONS of good things about the Canon 40d! Can you tell me anything about it? Like if it handles high ISO noise well and about the focusing, I'm looking for a quicker focus if that makes sense and a friend of mine has said Canon was great at finding/focusing quickly. Any info you can give would help me big time :) Thank you!

Sammy said...

Wow, what a great picture!

Coffee Break Mama said...

Thanks for these tips, I'll have to bookmark this page and refer to it. I've never gotten a really good moon shot. Yours is great!

Jess said...

Another tip worth mentioning is that if a person has a "live view" feature on their camera... you can digitally zoom in on the screen for a better look when manually focusing. The difference focusing with live view is profound.

Great shot, btw! :) Shooting the moon is very exciting when they turn out well!

AlaskanAlison said...

Oh wow! Beautiful shot!! I've never attempted a moon shot, but now I'll have to try.

Filipa said...

Wow, amazing! My shots of the moon are usually just a tiny dot on the big blue canvas! There's s omuch more I need to learn- thank you for sharing your tips! And thank you for entering our giveaway! :)

Leigh Erin said...

@Jess - Live view would be helpful! Especially if you could zoom to make sure you were in focus. Very cool!

@Natalie - I sent you an email, I can't say enough about the 40D. I really love it. It has been my teacher for the past few years. ;)

Danelle said...

Great shot! Thanks for sharing all your tips too!

Maira Gall