Moonlight photography tips for making magical midnight landscapes

Professional Photographer to the Rescue: moonlight photography tips making magical midnight landscapes

Moonlight photography tips for during the shoot

Moonlight photography tips for during the shoot: find the right location

Find the right location
“David explained that it’s best to recce a photo location in daylight, so you can work out your compositions without stumbling about in the dark. We were doing our shoot on Nuns Cross Farm on Dartmoor, which is a location David knows well. I was pretty happy with my first attempt at shooting the farmhouse; we used the big torch to light the entire house.”


Moonlight photography tips for during the shoot: shoot raw

Shoot Raw
“I shot raw format images to ensure that I could capture the widest possible dynamic range,” Mark says. “Raw images retain more tonal information, so you can recover more detail from the shadows at the editing stage.”


Moonlight photography tips for during the shoot: painting with light to reveal detail

Painting with light to reveal detail
“To get the most from this scene we placed the moon just behind the tree, in a gap in the branches, and to bring a touch of detail back into the shadows we used a head torch, and painted the light evenly over the tree for about 15 seconds. This simple setup worked really well to produce the final result.”


Moonlight photography tips for during the shoot: consider alternative compositions

Consider alternative compositions
“To capture the full effect of the moon with its aura I used a wide-angle lens,” Mark says. “As the house and moon were in line with each other from this angle, this was the perfect photo composition.

“The shot works much better in a portrait orientation, as the eye is led from top to bottom without getting lost in dark space. We lit the house using our head torches, to bring out some of the stone features.”

See in the dark
“It’s hard to compose a shot at night!” Mark says. “So to help me see a scene I switched my D-SLR to Live View mode. This, teamed with shining a bit of torchlight on the scene, meant that I could tweak the composition until I was happy with the frame.”


Moonlight photography tips for during the shoot: use a tripod

Rock solid
“When you’re shooting using long shutter speeds, a strong tripod is essential,” says Mark, “and to make sure the tripod doesn’t move during a long exposure it’s important to set it up properly.

“Extend the upper legs first, and avoid using the centre column unless it’s absolutely necessary. Ensure that all clasps are tightly locked down before you compose a shot, as the smallest slip will ruin the frame.”

PAGE 1: Meet our professional photographer and apprentice
PAGE 2: Moonlight photography tips for during the shoot
PAGE 3: Final tips from our professional photographer
PAGE 4: Our professional photographer’s recommended gear
PAGE 5: Shot of the Day


Night Sky Photography: pro secrets for stunning landscapes
Painting with light: what you need, and where and how to do it
Free night photography exposure guide