Though sun, no doubt, is the best source of light for most types of photography, moon too can contribute to some insanely beautiful shots, if you know how to make the best of it. So, here are some useful tips, the right camera settings and some great ideas that will help you take great pictures in moonlight.
Basic camera settings
Remember, your camera will be able to see more than your eyes during night time. All you need to do is set the ISO little higher, open the aperture wide and keep the shot exposed for about 30 seconds.
Is moonlight too harsh or too soft?
When the moon is high up in the sky (just like the sun in the middle of the day), light is usually harsh and the colors subdued. Likewise, when you see the moon lower in the sky, the moonlight is quite soft suitable to give nicely saturated images.
Try shots from different angles
When shooting in the moonlight it’s a good idea to experiment taking your shots at different angles. As with all types of photography, you’ll learn more about it with practice. Simply take your camera with you to an area where the city lights won’t affect the shots. You can take photos with the moon in the background or behind you for light and see how creative you can be.
Try different lengths of exposure
Keep in mind that you should also take different length of exposures to see how it affects your photos. Taking a tripod with you could be a great help when taking longer shots. While the sunlight doesn’t really vary too much in brightness you’ll find that the moon does because it goes through different phases. These phases change throughout the month.
Shoot during the right phase
When there’s a new moon in the sky it’s virtually invisible since it’s basically in line with the sun. The phases change over the course of the days and of course it peaks in brightness when there’s a full moon in the sky. In fact, with a full moon, the source of light is sometimes too strong and you won’t be able to see the stars because of it.
One of the best times to take photography under the moonlight is just a few days following a new moon. This is usually a slender looking crescent moon which appears low in the sky. The moonlight will typically offer a soft illumination in the foreground of your images and it won’t be strong enough to wash out the sky.
In addition, you’ll also find a slender moon a few days before the new moon which will appear before dawn in the east.
Mark your calendar
However, it’s usually considered an inconvenient time to get up and out to take photos. If you are up though, you should get some good shots with the light it provides. If you’d like to do a bit of planning ahead of time for taking moonlight photos, you’ll be able to find calendars inline which show the different phases of the moon.
Just check the calendar and circle a date which is about three to seven days after a new moon. When the day arrives, head out to a dark area with a tripod and shoot away. You might be pleasantly surprised at how well the photos will turn out.