How to photograph the moon with a mobile phone

How to photograph the moon with a mobile phone. When you have a good camera and suitable lenses available, it is not so complicated do it. But the subject changes a lot if you only have one phone.

However, even in this case, it is possible to take some interesting shots, not comparable in any way with those that can be obtained with professional cameras, for obvious technical reasons, as long as some precautions are followed.

How to photograph the moon with a mobile phone step by step

Choose the right time

Before seeing how to photograph the moon with a mobile phone, You have to say things that are logical and obvious, but necessary. Like, for example, that is very important choose the right moment to take the photo.

The camera of the mobile phone does not have the technical characteristics necessary to take quality shots of subjects that emit a lot of light. This means that if you want to try and capture some details, it is advisable to choose times when it is not very high in the sky and at the same time when the sunlight is still present.

To follow the astronomical movements of the Moon and thus have access to useful information about the moment when it rises and sets and the phase it is in (for example, decrease, increase, etc.), you can take advantage of applications like Star map (for Android e iOS) wave of Night sky (for iOS), which I've already told you about extensively in this other guide.

After choosing the time of day that seems most suitable for photographing the Moon with your mobile phone, all you have to do is go to the place that seems most appropriate for the type of photograph you want to create and start taking your photos by following the tips that you will find in the next chapters.

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Adjust trigger parameters manually

Adjust trigger parameters manually It can help you better manage your phone's camera and consequently get more interesting photos.

Since the default apps for taking photos with mobile phones hardly allow you to manage manually: ISO, diaphragm disturbance and all other shooting parameters, you will have to turn to third party solutions to be successful.

If you have a device Android, I recommend the excellent FV-5 camera which is free. If you have a iPhone, instead, I suggest ProCam or Halide (which cost 6,99 euros each).

Regardless of which apps you decide to use for your purpose, I suggest that you consider the following factors regarding the parameters that you will need to manually adjust.

  • ISO sensitivity - this value indicates the degree of amplification of the electrical signal sent to the sensor cells. The higher this value is raised, the brighter the photos will be. Since increasing the ISO requires the sensor to use an extra "effort" to capture the light, I advise you not to increase it too much, otherwise the photos will have an unsightly "grain" effect (so-called noise).


  • Shutter speed - By increasing the shutter speed, you will be able to slow down the shutter speed and consequently lock the scene by avoiding harshness or micro-movement (but be careful not to overdo it, because by increasing the shutter speed excessively you risk get an underexposed shot). Decreasing the shutter speed will instead increase the shutter speed and consequently more light will enter the lens, making the shot brighter (even in this case, however, don't overdo it because it runs the risk of getting an overexposed photo and / or moving).


  • Maximum aperture of the diaphragm. - this value indicates the amount of light that passes through the lens, which is measured in f stop (Ex. f / 2.8, f / 4.5, etc.) The lower this value, the greater the amount of light that will enter the lens. However, it must be said that many applications in stores do not give the possibility of manually adjusting the opening.
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To summarize, then, to get quality images of the Moon, you have to increase the ISO a little to get a brighter image (if you shoot in the dark), open the diaphragm or increase the shutter speed. Obviously, try to balance these three parameters by adjusting to the light conditions of the environment you are in, so that you have a correctly exposed photo.

The composition of the photo

Compose the photo it is one of the most important and delicate shooting phases. Since you will barely be able to photograph the Moon in detail, I advise you to 'position' it in the composition trying to make it stand out better. For that, follow the famous rule of thirds.

If you haven't heard of it (which seems pretty strange to me), know that this photography 'basic' rule of thumb is helpful in placing the main subject of the photo (in your case, the Moon) at the point where it stands out. better. To be successful, you must split the image into a imaginary grid composed of 9 rectangles : instead of taking the photograph placing the subject in the central rectangle, it is recommended to place it in one of the intersection points Of the grill.

Do not use digital zoom

When you are about to photograph the Moon, it is almost natural to use the zoom to photograph the most significant details of the satellite. But is better n or use digital zoom for no reason in the world.

If you didn't know, digital zoom, as opposed to optical (which was implemented only on some latest-generation mobile phones through a 'set' of lenses from the latter's rear cameras), is simply a digital magnification of the camera. Photo.

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What does this mean? That with digital zoom the frame is digitally enlarged and therefore the grains become visible due to the loss of image quality.

Shoot with HDR mode

Shoot with the mode HDR active can help you get a better shot. HDR or High dynamic rangeIn fact, it is a technique that allows you to increase the level of detail displayed in a photo by combining versions of the same image that have different degrees of brightness and exposure (in the photo at the beginning of the chapter you will find a surprising example of an image with and without HDR effect). Let me explain how to use it on Android and iPhone.

To take HDR photos in Android, after starting the application of the camera on your mobile phone, press the gear present on your main screen and, in the menu that opens, identifies the item HDR o High dynamic range and put in ON the corresponding switch lever (on other devices, the procedure may be slightly different, depending on the make, model and version of Android installed).

En iPhoneinstead, after starting the application camera, touch the item HDR located at the top and, in the menu that opens, press the item other.

Buy additional phone lenses

To make up for technical shortcomings in your phone's camera, you can buy additional lenses for mobile phones, to have more shooting possibilities.

Some of these lenses allow you to have the wide angle and telephoto lens, respectively, which can be useful for capturing a larger portion of the panorama in which to "set up" the Moon or try to photograph it in detail.

So far the entry on how to photograph the moon with a mobile phone.

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