Camera Settings for Moon Photography

How to Take Moon-ingful Photographs at Night? Go-to Camera Settings for Moon Photography

Moon Photography

As photographers, we have the power to capture the beauty of our universe and share it with the world!

Astrophotography is the photography of astronomical objects, celestial events, and areas of the night sky which includes Moon Photography, Star Trails Photography, Milky Way Photography, Northern Lights Photography and more. We’ve already covered Sun Photography in our earlier blog, now let’s dive into Moon Photography.

Best Camera Settings for Moon Photography

Moon is beautiful and mysterious in all its phases – be it the Full Moon, Crescent Moon, isn’t it? Well, if you’re a night owl – you’ll love photographing the moon.

How to photograph the moon? (Pro tips for Moon Photography)

  • Use your longest lens 300mm or more (you can also try with 200mm or 250mm) to click the photograph of the moon
  • Depending on your creative vision – how do you want to compose the photograph, what elements of the scene you want in the frame, you can choose to go for Wide-angle lens or Zoom lens
  • If you’re using Manual Mode, you can use the ‘Looney 11 Rule’: Set Aperture to f/11 and Shutter Speed to the reciprocal of the ISO you’ve set.

For instance, set aperture to f/11, if you’re using ISO 400, then set shutter speed to 1/400 secs; if ISO 1600 then shutter speed of 1/1600 sec and so on

  • If you’re using either Aperture Priority mode or Shutter Priority mode, then to avoid the moon in your photograph to look like a white disc (without its craters), dial down Exposure Compensation to -2, -3, -4 or -5 so that the resulting image looks natural and depicts the craters on the moon’s surface (Remember: Exposure Compensation doesn’t work in Manual Mode)

You can experiment with settings like for ISO begin from 400 till 1600 and go for mid-range aperture: f/8 – f/11

  • If the exposure you’ve set is low, then adjust the camera settings

For instance, your settings are aperture: f/11, ISO 800, Shutter Speed: 1/800 sec, then try a different setting by increasing the exposure, maybe you can use f/11, ISO 1600, Shutter Speed: 1/1600 sec or less

  • Tripod is highly recommended to avoid a blur photograph and give you a sharp image of the moon
  • If you don’t have a tripod, you can increase the ISO but remember a higher ISO will produce a more grainy image; so set your ISO accordingly
  • Use Self-timer mode to eliminate the possibility of camera shake when you release the shutter button to take the shot
  • You can either use single focus point in autofocus mode or infinity focus in manual mode (you will find the infinity symbol ∞ on your camera lens). See which option gives you a better picture – use that one

Try both the possibilities to shoot the moon – Live View mode and through the Viewfinder to check what works best for you in the given lighting conditions

How to focus to infinity without indicator

If you don’t have the infinity symbol ∞ on your camera, then you can find the infinity focus and mark it on your camera. Here’s how:

  • Turn your AF (Autofocus) mode on
  • Go for Single Focus Point and select center focus point
  • During daytime, point your camera (preferably mounted on a tripod) with the Single Focus Point on the top of a pillar, lighthouse, tree, mountain or a tower that is set against the skyline (Keep the top of the pillar in the center of the frame)
  • The AF mode will try to find focus on the top of the pillar
  • Through the viewfinder/Live View Shoot Mode, when you see your subject/pillar appearing sharp, halfway press the shutter button to lock the focus (the focus has been set to infinity)
  • Now, quickly mark that point on the focus ring with a marker or a tape (you’ve marked your infinity focus)
  • Turn AF (Autofocus) mode to MF (Manual Focus) mode
  • When doing moon photography, use MF (Manual Focus) mode, move your focus ring manually and stop at the marked infinity focus to capture a sharp image
How to focus to infinity without indicator
How to focus to infinity without indicator

Note: After I marked the infinity focus on my focus ring (Canon 1500D) – I found out that when I move my focus ring to the extreme left (hard stop of the camera’s focus ring which is the place at which the focus ring will turn no further) and then move it back by a centimeter to the right, there lies my infinity focus.

(Always try to get sharp images coz if your images aren’t sharp, even post-processing in Lightroom won’t help to correct/enhance your image)

Take a look at the below pictures and Camera Settings that were used to photograph the moon:

Phase of the Moon: First Quarter

(It is a primary Moon phase when we can see exactly half of the Moon’s visible surface illuminated)

How to photograph the moon

Camera Settings – Aperture: f/5.6, Shutter Speed: 1/1600 sec, ISO: 1600, Focal length: 250mm, Exposure Compensation: -5

Phase of the Moon: First Quarter (with a different setting)

Moon Photo

Camera Settings – Aperture: f/5.6, Shutter Speed: 1/60 sec, ISO: 1600, Focal length: 250mm, Exposure Compensation: -5

Phase of the Moon: Waxing Gibbous

(It is the intermediate phase, Waxing means moon is getting bigger; Gibbous refers to the shape, which is less than the full circle of a Full Moon, but larger than the semicircle shape of the Moon at the Third Quarter)

Phases of the Moon Photograph

Camera Settings – (Looney 11 Rule was used) Aperture: f/11, Shutter Speed: 1/1600 sec, ISO: 1600, Focal length: 250mm

Photograph of the White Desert of Kutch (India) using Wide-angle lens

Moon photography using wide angle lens

Camera Settings – Aperture: f/5, Shutter Speed: 1/200 sec, ISO: 100, Focal length: 46mm

We bring you ‘Jo & His Camera’ Comic Strips wherein a Magical Camera gives DSLR photography tutorials to Jo.

Click on the below Image to see the Comic wherein the Camera explains Jo, the concept  of Moon Photography with the help of practical examples.

Camera Settings to photograph the moon

When you do photography: Remember the 5E’s – Explore, Experiment, Experience, Enjoy & Express to develop your own style as a photographer.  

Do Share The Learning – Like It, Post It, Pin It, Tweet It!

So, have you photographed the moon yet? If yes – do share your moon photographs and the settings you used to photograph it, in the comment box below.

Did this blog help you with some ideas to improve your photography skills? For more useful photography tips, examples, ideas & inspiration, please subscribe below to receive notifications of new blog posts by email. Thank you!

Camera Settings for Sunrise Photography, Sunset Photography and Everything in Between

Camera Settings for Sunrise Photography, Sunset Photography and Everything in Between

Camera Settings for Sunrise Photography and Sunset Photography

Looking for photography inspiration? Well, our world is full of inspiration – sometimes we find it within, sometimes in nature, wildlife, people and so on.

To sharpen your photography skills, you visit photography tutorials websites and check out famous photographers’ works on the internet and social media.

Sunset on Beach Photography

One of the best places to get inspired is ‘Movies’; you get entertained while learning composition skills from their excellent cinematography, isn’t it? Talking about sunrise photography, I fell in love with the opening scene of a beautiful lake at sunrise in the popular Hollywood movie ‘The Notebook’.

Blue Hour Photography

You can capture the beauty of the Blue Hour which occurs before sunrise and after sunset; it lasts between 20 – 40 mins before sunrise and between 20 – 40 mins after sunset before it gets too dark. Sometimes, you may also see orange, yellow, pink colours near the horizon.

Golden hour photography

The Golden Hour aka Magic Hour is also a great photo op that occurs after sunrise and before sunset; it lasts for about 40 mins after sunrise and 40 mins before sunset.

Take a look at the below photographs and Camera Settings that were used to capture them:

Before Sunset

Camera settings for Sun Photography

Camera SettingsAperture: f/22, Shutter Speed: 1/100 sec, ISO: 100, Focal length: 55mm

Shining Clouds before Sunset

Camera settings for sunset  photography

Camera Settings – Aperture: f/32, Shutter Speed: 1/100 sec, ISO: 100, Focal length: 220mm

Setting Sun

Sunset Photography

Camera Settings-Aperture: f/5.6, Shutter Speed: 1/3200 sec, ISO: 800, Focal length: 250mm

Dramatic Sky after Sunset

DSLR Camera settings for sunset  photography

Camera Settings-Aperture: f/8, Shutter Speed: 1/250 sec, ISO: 800, Focal length: 55mm

Afternoon Sun Flare in the Dark Woods

Sun Flare photography

Camera Settings-Aperture: f/4.5, Shutter Speed: 1/1000 sec, ISO: 800

(Post processing was done in Lightroom to adjust exposure (brightness))

Sunrise in the City

Sunrise Photography

Camera Settings-Aperture: f/11, Shutter Speed: 1/320 sec, ISO: 200, Focal length: 105mm, Metering mode: Spot

Pro tips for Sun Photography

  • If you’re travelling to a new place, check the sunrise and sunset timings beforehand so that you can reach the place early and plan your composition for the photograph
  • Tripod will help in capturing better photographs 
  • Go for Wide angle lens/Zoom lens depending on your creative vision or what visual story you want to convey to the viewers

We bring you ‘Jo & His Camera’ Comic Strips wherein a Magical Camera gives DSLR photography tutorials to Jo.

Click on the below Image to see the Comic wherein the Camera explains Jo, the concept  of Sunrise and Sunset Photography with the help of practical examples.

Camera Settings for Sunrise and Sunset Photography

When you do photography: Remember the 5E’s – Explore, Experiment, Experience, Enjoy & Express.  

Do Share The Learning – Like It, Post It, Pin It, Tweet It!

So, what’s your favourite time to be out amidst nature and photograph it – is it Blue Hour, Golden Hour, Sunrise or Sunset?

Did this blog help you with some ideas to improve your photography skills? For more useful photography tips, examples, ideas & inspiration, please subscribe below to receive notifications of new blog posts by email. Thank you!

bird photography

How To Photograph Birds? Camera Settings and Tips for Bird Photography

Have you heard of Salim Ali? Well, known as the ‘Birdman of India’, he was an Indian ornithologist and naturalist. His landmark creation ‘The Book of Indian Birds’ helped spark popular interest in the birds of India.

One of the popular genres of Nature Photography, Bird Photography requires a lot of patience and determination; it’s both – interesting and challenging.

Bird Photography

For Bird Photography, pay attention to the sound of birds – it will alert you of their arrival. Having sharp eyes will help you spot birds who camouflage/blend with their surroundings. You can photograph resting birds as well as birds in action.

Pro tips for Bird Photography

  • To photograph from a long distance, you need telephoto lens/zoom lens of at least 100 mm; 400 mm is ideal for close-ups and bird photography
  • Set your focus on the eyes of the bird
  • You can buy a bird feeder and attach to your window to attract birds
  • To shoot moving or flying birds, set a Fast Shutter Speed to freeze their action & avoid motion blur; go for 1/2000 sec or higher depending on your subject’s speed. Use Shutter Priority mode for bird photography, Fast shutter speed like 1/2000 sec, ISO preferably 800. To arrive at a correct exposure, camera will set the aperture. (Fast shutter speed is essential for bird photography since the birds will constantly keep moving and even fly away once it sees you)
  • You can use the Setting – Continuous Shooting so that you don’t miss out on any action/movement/motion of your subject; also you’ll get multiple shots so that you can pick the best shot – a sharp image
  • A Tripod is highly recommended to avoid camera shake or hold your camera closer to your body to support your arms & elbows for stability or find a surface to support your elbows or lean against a wall
  • Research your subject’s feeding/active time; be quiet & slow while approaching your subject

Check the below photograph of Fantails bird

Bird Photography
Fantails bird

Camera Settings used: Center-Weighted Metering, Aperture: f/5.6, ISO 1600, shutter speed of 1/640 secs

Zoom lens and wide aperture will create Shallow Depth of Field which means it will blur the background and make the bird stand out in your photograph.

Take a look at the below pictures and Camera Settings that were used to photograph birds. In some cases, post processing was done in Lightroom to adjust exposure (brightness), contrast and sharpness:

Pigeon walking on the roof

Camera Settings – Aperture: f/5.6, Shutter Speed: 1/500 sec, ISO 800

Pigeon landing on the roof

Camera Settings – Aperture: f/ 5.6, Shutter Speed: 1/4000 sec, ISO: 800

Black Drongo sitting on the wire  

Camera SettingsAperture: f/5.6, Shutter Speed: 1/3200 sec, ISO 800

Kite bird on the lookout for its prey

Camera Settings – Aperture: f/5.6, Shutter Speed: 1/1000 sec, ISO 800

Curious Myna looking into my camera

Camera Settings – Aperture: f/5.6, Shutter Speed: 1/1000 sec, ISO 800

When the Myna turned its head 180 degrees

Camera Settings – Aperture: f/5.6, Shutter Speed: 1/800 sec, ISO 800

Robin singing and posing for me 

Camera Settings – Aperture: f/5.6, Shutter Speed: 1/640 sec, ISO 800

Male Kite obeying the orders of his partner

Camera Settings – Aperture: f/5.6, Shutter Speed: 1/320 sec, ISO 800

How to Photograph Birds in Flight (Kite bird in Flight)

How to Photograph Birds in Flight

Stood and took this photo from my window to capture the bird at eye level. Took support of my body to prevent motion blur. Shutter Priority mode is recommended to freeze the motion of birds in flight.

Camera Settings – Shutter speed:1/2000 secs (to freeze the motion), ISO 800, Aperture F8, Focal length/Telephoto lens: 250mm.

Flying bird Photography settings (Flying Kite with its Prey in Claws)

How to Photograph Birds in Flight

Camera Settings – Shutter speed:1/2000 secs (to freeze the motion), ISO 800, Aperture F5.6, Focal length/Telephoto lens: 250mm.

Low Light Wildlife Photography/Bird Photography Settings

If you’re photography a bird in low light (at evenings after 6pm or later or maybe early mornings before 8am) and the bird is constantly moving – you will need a fast shutter speed to freeze the action and avoid motion blur.

But fast shutter speed will allow less light to enter the camera sensor that’ll result in an underexposed image. So, for correct exposure – you will have to go for a high ISO and wide aperture. Instead of using very fast shutter speed like 1/2000 sec, you can set your Shutter speed to 1/250 sec or 1/125 sec so that it can freeze the action while allowing more light to enter the camera sensor. (You’ll have to experiment with the shutter speed settings depending upon your lighting conditions and the speed of your subject).

Also use Center-Weighted Metering or Spot Metering so that the subject in focus appears bright.

The below photograph of the constantly moving Red-whiskered Bulbul was shot after 6pm using Center-Weighted Metering and Shutter Speed of 1/125 sec, ISO 1600.

low light wildlife photography

The above photo was processed in Lightroom to enhance it. (Below is the image post processing in Lightroom)

bird photography

We bring you ‘Jo & His Camera’ Comic Strips wherein a Magical Camera gives DSLR photography tutorials to Jo.

Click on the below Image to see the Comic wherein the Camera explains Jo, the concept  of Bird Photography with the help of practical examples.

Click on the below Image to see the Comic wherein the Camera explains Jo, how to capture birds in action with the help of practical examples.

When you do photography: Remember the 5E’s – Explore, Experiment, Experience, Enjoy & Express to develop your own style as a photographer.

Do Share The Learning – Like It, Post It, Pin It, Tweet It!

So, what’s your favorite type of photography? Is it Bird Photography?

Did this blog help you with some ideas to improve your bird photography? For more useful photography tips, examples, ideas & inspiration, please subscribe below to receive notifications of new blog posts by email. Thank you!