How to photograph the supermoon from a smartphone or a digital camera

Want to get a picture of the Supermoon? Here are some tips from Bill Ingalls, who's been a NASA photographer for over 25 years.

  • His #1 tip is to get something else in the shot for reference. Tie it into a local landmark to give the picture a "sense of place"
  • Plan in advance where to shoot. Ingalls likes to use Google Maps to plan where to get just the right angle at the right time.
  • The moon will be closest during Monday morning’s moonset, but Sunday evening, Nov. 13, will be great too.
  • If you are using a smartphone, focus! You just tap the screen and hold your finger on the moon to lock the focus. Then slide your finger up or down to darken or lighten the exposure.
  • If you use a digital SLR, use the daylight white balance setting. If you use a longer lens, remember that the moon is a moving object. Balance between trying to get the right exposure and a faster shutter.

Ingalls says the Nov. 14 supermoon can be a great family activity. “I think this would be a lot of fun to do with kids, if nothing else, to just have them witness it and talk about what’s taking place.”

He recommends personalizing the experience and having some fun with it. “There are lots of great photos of people appearing to be holding the moon in their hand and that kind of thing. You can get really creative with it,” he said.

More on the supermoon right here. 

A “supermoon” occurs when the moon becomes full on the same days as its perigee, which is the point in the moon’s orbit when it is closest to Earth.

The term is borrowed from the pseudoscience of astrology but has been adopted by popular culture and astronomers.

Supermoons generally appear to be 14% bigger and 30% brighter than other full moons.

While such moons occur around every 13 months, November’s is a special one.

According to NASA, this month’s supermoon “becomes full within about two hours of perigee—arguably making it an extra-super moon.”

In America, the November full moon is known as a “Beaver Moon,” because it arrives at the time of year when fur trappers would hunt the dam-building animals.