Nature Photographs: How Do You Take A Good Picture Of The Moon?
Taking beautiful nature photographs can be a little too easy at times. This is mostly due to the fact that it’s all there for you. There’s not a lot a photographer (especially a photographer with a new, technically proficient smartphone) has to do when taking pictures out in the wild. All it comes down to is remembering the basics and capturing the scene before it gets away from you.
There is, however, one area of nature photography that eludes even the very best photographers. Just ask yourself, how many times have you ventured outside to see a full moon shining down upon the landscape, only to find your photograph shows a dark scene with a tiny, white golf ball in the distance? The moon is the thorn in a photographer's side. Arresting, big, and beautiful, but nigh on impossible to capture in all its glory.
But there are ways to get around it. With just a few tips and tricks, you can make the moon just as stunning as it looks in real life.
Zoom And Frame
If you take a picture of an interesting ceiling or a building across the street, you’re probably going to zoom in, right? Well, the moon is nearly 239,000 miles away from the earth, so you might want to zoom in for this picture too. If your phone has a telephoto camera lens, then make sure to swipe through your settings and switch to it. Framing is important too. You want to ensure you have as little empty space as possible, as the blackness will drown out the moon’s impact. Swiping to the “square” frame on your phone is a good way to eliminate this issue. This can also work well if you’re planning on displaying your portfolio in the new square photo book, as you have already fitted the photograph to take advantage of the book’s unique ratio.
Use A Tripod
If you’re taking photographs at night (or when the light is beginning to dim in the evening) it’s always a good idea to invest in a tripod. Without a tripod, your photographs taken in the dark will look blurry, as you have no way to efficiently stabilise your phone. This leads to poor focus when it comes to capturing the moon. You can solve this by either obtaining a store-bought tripod or simply making your own DIY version from home.
Channel Your Inner Astronomer
Any photographer will tell you that you have to become a mini expert on the world you’re photographing. In this way, you should make sure you know what the moon is doing, what direction it is moving across the sky and when it is going to be at its brightest. Weather is important, also. You don’t want to find out that there will be a beautiful, blood-moon only to venture out and discover it entirely obscured by clouds. Get in touch with your surroundings and take everything nature-related into account.
Location Is Important
Where you are on the ground is crucial when it comes to taking good photographs of the sky. Open spaces are obviously necessary in order to obtain a good horizon line, but elevated spots, especially, are excellent for a clear view and a wide, open landscape. Light pollution can also be an issue when capturing a brighter sky, so try to avoid urban spaces that might hinder your composition.
Play Around With The Light
A full moon will light up the world around you, so it’s a good idea to find places where that glow can really be accentuated. If you live close to the sea, wander down to the shoreline and try to capture the reflection in the water. If you own a photographer’s glass-ball and you’re feeling confident, set it up on the beach and try to use it to snap the scene. It might be a little difficult, but the results can be truly stunning.
Experiment With Apps And Settings
Your camera settings are important to any photograph, but especially when you’re trying to capture the moon. For starters, turn your flash off. That goes without saying. But also, make sure to adjust exposure and download a few Milky Way apps which can help with the composition. If it doesn’t work out the way you expect, try out a few filters which help to elevate the moon as a subject and make its presence a bit more impactful.
Practice Makes Perfect
When you’re trying out a new area of photography, it’s not always going to go smoothly right off the bat. It’s important to remember, however, that you’re not forced to slap every photo you take on Instagram or into a photo book. You have the choice about what photographs you share, so take as many as possible, build up your confidence and keep making them better. You’ll get there eventually. As a photographer, the sky's the limit, but the moon certainly is not.