Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How Supermoons Work


How to Photograph a Supermoon
Juxtaposing a supermoon with a well-known landmark (like the ancient Acropolis hill in Athens, Greece) makes your supermoon photograph more interesting. ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images
Juxtaposing a supermoon with a well-known landmark (like the ancient Acropolis hill in Athens, Greece) makes your supermoon photograph more interesting. ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images

Even though supermoons don't really affect the earth much and aren't considered that important by scientists, they're still an interesting phenomenon to photograph. Here are some tips from photographers on shooting a supermoon.

  • Use the right equipment and settings. Ideally, you want to use a digital single-lens reflex camera with an attachable 70 to 300 millimeter telephoto lens, so you can get a more detailed image. Use the daylight white balance setting on your DSLR, since what you're trying to capture is reflected sunlight.
  • Turn off your flash, even if you're shooting with your smartphone. It'll illuminate your immediate surroundings, and make the moon look insignificant by comparison. Consider downloading one of the many apps that allow you to adjust a smartphone camera to take the best pictures in the darkness [sources: Gee, Orwig, Cuthbertson].
  • Stabilize your camera. It's a good idea to use a tripod, or else to brace your camera against some fixed object such as a lamppost or windowsill, to reduce shaking that could wipe out details and make the image blurry. That also will allow you to use a longer exposure time and take in more light, a benefit when shooting at night [source: Hoffman].
  • Don't just photograph the supermoon itself. NASA senior photographer Bill Ingalls recommends juxtaposing the moon with some land-based object, such as a recognizable local building, in order to give a reference point that will drive home the moon's size [source: Stone].

More to Explore