How To Take a Decent Photo of the Moon on Your Smartphone

How To Take a Decent Photo of the Moon on Your Smartphone

If you caught the excitement surrounding the appearance of April’s pink super moon you’ll know that people love a good space event.

Whether you’re fascinated by space because of the astrological theories surrounding it, or because you’re simply gobsmacked by its grandeur, gazing up at the night sky during a rare celestial event is a pretty incredible experience – and one that many of us will try to capture in photo form.

But snapping a pic of the moon is not as easy as pointing and shooting. If you struggled with this during the pink super moon appearance, and want to do better when May 26’s super blood moon shows up, allow us to help.

Here’s your guide to taking better photos of the moon

blood moon photography

A gibbous moon is the most photogenic

If you’re interested in general moon photography, it pays to understand which moon phase you’re working with. According to Australian Geographic, a gibbous moon – when more than half the moon is illuminated – is the best phase to snap a photo of. This is because the appearance of shadow helps add contrast and highlights the detail of the brighter parts of the moon.

How to snap a super moon

Australian Geographic also pointed out that super moons are particularly great for photos because they tend to appear significantly larger than usual.

The upcoming super blood moon is expected to appear about 14 per cent larger than your standard moon. And according to astronomer Professor Fred Watson, who spoke with 9 Honey on the topic, super moons tend to be about 30 per cent brighter (though the naked eye can’t really pick this up).

In terms of photography, Australian Geographic shared that a few days before and after the super moon event will also be prime photography opportunities. So, keep a keen eye.

The outlet recommends that you use your longest lens, pop your camera on a tripod, and aim for a clear night. It also suggests that you shoot in RAW for better access to finer details.

What if you’re using a smartphone?

It’s pretty broadly understood that phone cameras struggle in settings such as these but there are some tips you can follow to improve your chances of capturing a killer photo.

CNET writes that the earlier you shoot, the better. The outlet suggested trying to capture other elements in the shot too, so you won’t be left trying to photograph the moon against the inky black sky, alone.

It’s also recommended that you use your settings to lower the camera’s exposure to improve your chances of landing some detail in your photo.

Just like your standard camera, it’s always best to pop your phone on a solid surface when capturing a photo of the moon – that way you avoid any movement and you have better control over the camera settings.

In most cases, night mode is not really recommended for photographing the night sky. However, if you use a tripod for your iPhone you can manually work with exposure while shooting at night. The iPhone 12 Pro Max is probably going to be your best bet here, as it comes with the option of 2.5x optical zoom and better capabilities in low-light settings.

And Android users, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is fitted with 5x optical zoom, giving you a much better chance of capturing lady Luna in all her glory.

In short, the photos won’t be as good as they would be on a standard camera, but the tech is really improving in this space and there are ways to get a decent photo.

Tell me more about this blood moon

This kind of super moon is named after the colouring the moon adopts during its lunar eclipse. As 9 Honey reports, the Earth will cast a shadow across the moon during this event and because Earth’s shadow has a red hue to it, the moon will take on that shade.

It will be most visible from the east coast of Australia and the best viewing time is expected to be 6:45 pm on May 26, 2021.

This article has been updated since its original publish date.

The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans

Here are the cheapest plans available for Australia’s most popular NBN speed tier.

At Lifehacker, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.


One response to “How To Take a Decent Photo of the Moon on Your Smartphone”

Leave a Reply