Moonlight Photography for Capturing Memorable Pictures

For a fresh approach, try these night digital photography techniques

by Simon Stafford

Old Church by Moonlight
© Simon Stafford
All Rights Reserved

Moonlight Photography Techniques

You can shoot anywhere between the first and third quarter moon phases. (Note: Here's a link for useful information about the moon and its cycles: )

The technique is quite simple. Some tips:

  • Set your camera to manual exposure mode.

  • Then select a shutter speed of 30 seconds at an aperture of f/4, with a sensitivity of ISO 800.

  • Avoid a longer exposure to prevent the stars appearing as trails of light rather than bright points.

  • Also, make sure there is no light pollution from nearby buildings, street lighting, etc.

  • The only other piece of essential equipment for this sort of picture is a sturdy tripod.
For this image, I used a 24mm lens and a Nikon D3x.

Take Your Photography to the Next Level in Online Photo Workshop!

Simon Stafford teaches a number of excellent online photo courses, including one on photographic composition.In addition, the BetterPhoto digital photography school offers many more classes on working with natural light and digital camera exposure.

About Author / Instructor / Photographer, Simon Stafford
Photography Instructor: Simon Stafford Simon Stafford first became interested in photography while a university student. Completely self-taught, he talked his way into a job as the photographer for the university's weekly newspaper and has been shooting pictures ever since.áHis photographs have been used widely in newspapers, books, calendars, and magazines, and he has also enjoyed numerous successes in many photographic competitions.

Simon has built up a wealth of experience over the past thirty years in both film and digital photography. Throughout his photographic career he has used the Nikon system extensively, adopting digital photography at an early stage with the release of the Nikon D1 camera during 1999; he has being using digital cameras exclusively since 2004.áHe completed his first book, The Nikon Compendium, during 2003. With nearly 400 pages and Simon's own extensive photography of Nikon cameras, Nikkor lenses, and Nikon system accessories, it represents a comprehensive history of the Nikon system for the user and collector alike. He has also written over twenty books on the Nikon camera system for the Magic Lantern Guide series,ápublished by Sterling Publishing.

He is involved in a wide variety of photographic projects, which include leading his own photographic workshops and, tutoring workshops for Tatra Photography, contributing illustrated articles to leading U.K. photography magazines, he is also Technical Editor to Nikon Owner magazine.