This weekend's solar eclipse is a good opportunity to remind you that the moon is awesome to look at, even when it's not covering up the sun. The best way to photograph the moon using an iPhone is to lock the exposure on something bright before going outside. The moon is a very bright object, which is why it normally looks like a washed-out white dot using an iPhone camera. Because the iPhone camera doesn't include settings to manually adjust ISO and shutter speed, you have to trick the camera into the right settings on something other than the moon.
Basically, you're using a bright light as a stand in for the moon so that you can adjust the camera settings. The default iPhone camera has the ability to lock auto focus and exposure, but we want to lock the exposure without locking the focus. Apps that tell you the ISO and shutter speed will let you practice with different values to get a better moon photo.
With the exposure locked using the kitchen light as an under-study, we're ready for the star of the show to make her appearance. Even with an appropriately-exposed photo and the super nice iPhone 5 camera, the moon will only appear about 50 pixels across in your final shot.
I'm still amazed at the fact I can take a pretty decent picture of something which is, you know, in space! The original image was pretty huge so I reduced it down a bit for my site but it's still pretty nice. Most of the frame will be taken up by the dark sky surrounding the moon, and the result of this is that your camera will expose the scene for the dark sky. If you’re familiar with ISO and shutter speed settings, you may prefer to use a third-party camera app which will allow you to lock the focus and exposure points separately, as well as selecting an appropriate ISO and shutter speed. The aim is to use a low ISO to avoid getting a grainy picture, and to use a relatively fast shutter speed to avoid camera shake.
So you might find certain third-party apps that show ISO and shutter speed settings more useful when taking photos of the moon.
Long-exposure photography facing the North Star reveals circular pathways as the stars (relative to us) move around the pole.
For star trails, I use the NightCap app because of its ability to take continuous back to back shots at timer-regulated intervals.
The app also lets you choose between JPEG, HQ JPEG and TIFF outputs, however the TIFF isn’t available for the continuous burst mode.
You’ll definitely want to use a tripod or prop your phone up on a railing to keep it steady.
Star trail purists might give you a hard time for stacking (rather than leaving the shutter open the entire time for seamless trails on a single frame), but there just isn’t a way to manually keep the shutter open for this long on an iPhone. Great right up lead to my purchasing – Havnt tried yet but I will when the darkness comes this evening.


I guess you should just read the reviews carefully, unfortunately night photography is not my area of expertise. That’s so little money and the developers have done such good jobs, it’s worth buying both! I use an app called Longexpo and you can set the shutter speed to different speeds and even bulb. You could try it but your picture might end up over-exposed due to the shutter being open for a long time. Thelma England of Alhambra, Calif., became a Gold Star mother in 1942 after her son, Ensign John. You can buy powerful home-use telescopes for a few hundred dollars online, and take your own photos with a digital camera or cameraphone. Since posting "How to photograph the moon on an iPhone: One possible solution" I've come across a more straightforward technique described below. Even using a DSLR, the only way to get detail on the face of the moon is to treat it like the bright object that it is by using a low ISO and fast shutter speed. The moon is just too small in the sky for the camera to adjust the exposure appropriately - I think the iPhone uses more of the field of view to determine when to adjust the settings, and the moon is a very small area in the field. I also used a tripod on this one, which helps squeeze any last details out of the tiny moon. With no optical zoom, it seems impossible to use the iPhone for true night sky photography. However, with a few simple solutions you’d be surprised how much fun you can have shooting the night sky with your phone! Because the moon is so small in the field of view, the camera won’t adjust the exposure settings to appropriately expose for the moon. Because the moon is so bright relative to the night sky, what this means in practical terms is that the moon will be over-exposed.
The native camera app won’t show you the ISO and shutter speed numbers, so it’s all guesswork. If you take a long exposure photo of the sky, the stars will appear to make light trails or circles.
To give the stars enough time to travel a tiny bit between shots, set the interval to around 15-20 seconds. I usually keep mine plugged in so it doesn’t drain the battery too quickly (which can happen in about 10 minutes in the winter). You basically want to take the brightest pixels from each frame and layer them into the final star trail photo. So if you lock it under one kind of light and then change the lighting it will keep the previous white point. I’d like to keep the shooting and editing just on my iOS devices as it gives a more seemless workflow. Holding it directly up to the light will let you lock the exposure for anything bright (probably better for full moon), or holding it slightly further away or at an angle will let you lock the exposure for a dimmer moon (such as crescent or clouded moon).


I've even tried locking the focus and exposure on the moon outside, but it just doesn't trip the settings like a light that fills up more of the viewfinder. This app lets you lock exposure and focus independently, and shows the ISO and shutter speed values on the screen.
You can actually see some of the details on the face of the moon, and you did it on your PHONE! I tried this on the moon (success) and then used the same method to take a picture of Jupiter with my iPhone through a telescope (attached). In this tutorial you’ll discover some handy exposure tips for improving your iPhone photos of the night sky, as well as how to create wonderful star trail photos. Once you’ve tapped on the screen to set focus, simply swipe down to reduce the exposure. A tripod helps, but might not be necessary especially at faster shutter speeds and if you have a steady hand. The North Star is the only star that appears to stay in the same place because it’s very close to the north celestial pole above the Earth. Take back to back photos for at least 20 minutes to see some decent trails – the longer the better! It will lock both the shutter speed and ISO at the same time, and I don’t believe there is a way to lock only the ISO independently. For distance subjects there would be no point in using flash as the light from the flash will only travel a few meters. You’ll see the sun icon on the exposure slider and the image will begin to appear darker as you swipe. But, if it’s properly exposed, you should see differences in dark and light patches on the face of the moon.
This photo was published on May 10, 1942 -- Mothers Day -- on the Los Angeles Times local section front page.
Coupled with an app like Camera Awesome that lets you adjust focus and exposure and you can take some impressive shots.Suffice it to say, I really want to buy a telescope now.
I'm building one now to keep track of my recent dabbles into astrophotography and astronomy.
More specifically, I'm trying to test the limits of astrophotography for an amateur with an iPhone 4S, basic telescope, and living in a light-polluted area. I used your guide to make my own iPhone adapter (with some slight modifications of my own).



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