When photographing the moon, you have many creative choices to think about.

While there are basic tips for moon photography, choosing your lens and the time of day is entirely up to you and your vision.

How does time of day effect your image?

The moon is extremely bright and when you meter for the moon to keep it from being overexposed, the exposure of the sky will be effected.

If it’s late at night and you’ve lost all ambient light from any remaining sun, the sky will be black due to the exposure of the moon and you’ll lose most, if not all, of any surrounding elements like trees or buildings in the shadows. Choosing to shoot with this vision in mind can result in a more dramatic, high contrast image.

moon photography at night by April Nienhuis

And it can result in an even more dramatic and somewhat spooky image when you have a full moon and a sky full of clouds.

spooky moon photography by April Nienhuis

If you’d like more color and the intrigue it can bring, consider shooting during the blue hour. You’ll still want to meter for the moon which will allow for a nice, rich blue color in the sky.

One little trick to increasing the blue tone of the sky without any work in Lightroom or Photoshop is to put your camera’s white balance in tungsten mode prior to shooting which is what I did in the following image that is completely unedited.

photographing the moon during the blue hour by April Nienhuis

Are you interested in a much more low contrast image? Consider shooting when the sun is still fully present.

Quite often the moon is lingering in the sky prior to the sun setting and choosing this time of day to photograph allows you to incorporate the beautiful light blue sky. You can also seize that opportunity and include nicely exposed buildings or a landscape within the frame to add context.

how to photograph the moon during the day by April Nienhuis

Can you really be creative and shoot with different lenses?

Absolutely! Most people, myself included, will opt for a long lens like a 70-200 to allow you to zoom in as close as possible to the moon and that is completely fine if it fits with your vision.

However, if you want to get a more unique approach in the photo then think about other lenses and how they can change the feel of the image. Consider using a wide angle lens to help include surrounding elements or perhaps a Lensbaby and the unique blur it provides will add a pleasing visual interest.

using a lensbaby to photograph the moon by April Nienhuis

Whatever you choose, enjoy the options you have to be creative and have fun experimenting with new approaches!