Experts reveal how to photograph the Supermoon using only your smartphone

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Star gazers and astrologers are in for a treat tonight when the moon will be at its largest and brightest in more than 70 years.

A Supermoon occurs when the moon is at its closest point to the earth in its 27 day lunar orbit.

Tonight’s Supermoon should appear around 15 percent larger than normal.

The almost once in a lifetime phenomenon isn’t to be missed, and experts from both NASA and National Geographic have given tips on how to photograph the supermoon.

Tip 1 – Find a good vantage point

The full moon is seen as it rises near the Lincoln Memorial, Saturday, March 19, 2011, in Washington. The full moon tonight is called a "Super Perigee Moon" since it is at it's closest to Earth in 2011. The last full moon so big and close to Earth occurred in March of 1993. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

The full moon is seen as it rises near the Lincoln Memorial, Saturday, March 19, 2011, in Washington. The full moon tonight is called a “Super Perigee Moon” since it is at it’s closest to Earth in 2011. The last full moon so big and close to Earth occurred in March of 1993. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Bill Ingalls, senior photographer at NASA, who usually spends his time photographing space missions and meteor showers says that the most important tip is to not shoot the supermoon on its own.

“Don’t make the mistake of photographing the moon by itself with no reference to anything. I’ve certainly done it myself, but everyone will get that shot, Ingalls says.

“Instead, think of how to make the image creative—that means tying it into some land-based object. It can be a local landmark or anything to give your photo a sense of place.”

He says that for the best photos, find a vantage point and ensure that the Supermoon is photographed alongside something, be it a person or a building.

Ingalls says you can have a lot of fun trying to personalise the shot by trying to include people.

“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”, said Ingalls.

Tip 2 – Get the right equipment

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To take the best and crispest shot possible, you should use a tripod. Failing that try propping your smartphone against anything that will ensure it will remain still.

“Ideally the phone is stabilized,” Nat Geo photographer Michael Christopher Brown said when asked for tips on taking a photograph of the smartphone.

In terms of smartphones, iPhone 7 Plus users will have the most joy when it comes to photographing the Supermoon, simply because of the optical zoom capabilities of the rear facing sensor.
For those without an iPhone 7 Plus, it is still possible to get a good photo of the supermoon.

Brown recommends to take the shot without zooming in first as this will only reduce the quality of the image. You should then zoom in or crop later to enlarge any detail.

Tip 3 – Use editing apps

Lightroom app

According to smartphone photography specialist Leigh Stark, you should download the Android and iOS versions of the Adobe Lightroom app, which comes with an in app camera which supports RAW files.

“If you’re not familiar with RAW, think of it as a digital negative, capturing more information and detail than a standard JPEG, and allowing you to extract this later on,” Stark told Mashable.

When using the app, you need to make sure you select DNG file format, which will allow you to get more detail out of the image later to help you get the best overall shot.

Tip 4 – Focus

PHOTOGRAPH BY BILL INGALLS, NASA

PHOTOGRAPH BY BILL INGALLS, NASA

Stark also recommends that once you have everything in place – ideally smartphone setup on a tripod, look through the lens and make sure you touch the moon with your finger.

This will help the lens adjust focus and brightness and could be the difference in you taking a truly great shot.

Tip 5 – Enjoy the Supermoon

Above all else, National Geographic recommends budding photographers take time to enjoy the Supermoon and don’t spend all their time trying to capture the perfect shot.

The Supermoon should be brightest at 20:52 Thai time and will look best out on the horizon.

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