How To Photograph Tonight’s Supermoon So It Doesn’t Look Crap


Tonight, a once-in-a-lifetime showstopper supermoon will be made a hell of a lot less remarkable by really bad photos of it on your timeline.

It will be the closest moon to Earth in almost 70 years, and we won’t see a supermoon like this until 2034, so you probably want a damn good photo of it.

Supermoons can be up to 14 per cent bigger and 30 per cent brighter than normal full moons – and the one on November 14 is the closest in nearly seven decades.


So how do you get your supermoon photo to look less of a lamppost in the distance and more of a, well, supermoon?

Bill Ingalls, a NASA photographer for more than 25 years, shared his tips for supermoon hunting in a statement from the agency.

His first tip:

Don’t make the mistake of photographing the moon by itself with no reference to anything. Instead, think of how to make the image creative – that means tying it into some land-based object. It can be a local landmark or anything to give your photo a sense of place.

Shooting on an iPhone or Android? Here’s what you should do:


You may think it’s a hopeless attempt to photograph a supermoon image with a smartphone camera, but Ingalls says:

It’s all relative… You’re not going to get a giant moon in your shot, but you can do something more panoramic, including some foreground that’s interesting. Think about being in an urban area where it’s a little bit brighter.

To get the right light balance of the moon on newer iPhones and other smartphones, ‘tap the screen and hold your finger on the object (in this case, the moon) to lock the focus. Then slide your finger up or down to darken or lighten the exposure.’

Or if you have an SLR, here’s how to shoot the supermoon properly:


For digital SLR photography, Ingalls uses the daylight white balance setting for capturing moonlight. For those with longer lenses, he advises to ‘keep in mind that the moon is a moving object. It’s a balancing act between trying to get the right exposure and realizing that the shutter speed typically needs to be a lot faster.’

The best time to view it in the UK will be when the sun is setting in the late afternoon. The closer to the horizon it is, the bigger it will appear.

Looking for the best place to see it? Pick a place with the least light pollution. Weather permitting, you’ll have one awesome view – and hopefully some enviable pictures.