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How to take photos of the 'Super Pink Moon' with your phone

Super Moon
Super Moon (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Times are pretty tough and stressful right now, but thankfully, Mother Nature has a little pick-me-up planned for tonight. During the evening on April 7, 2020, through the following morning on April 8, you'll be able to see the gorgeous "Super Pink Moon" in the sky.

The Super Pink Moon is the first of a couple Supermoons that'll be visible throughout 2020, but this particular one is expected to be the largest and brightest. The moon itself won't be pink, but it gets the "Super Pink Moon" name thanks to the abundance of pink flowers we typically see around this time of the year.

Along with seeing the Super Pink Moon with your own eyes, you might find yourself wanting to take a photo of it in order to capture its majesty so you can look back on it later on. Taking pictures of the moon isn't easy, however, so here are some tips that should help your photos turn out as good as possible.

Make sure you have a good, clear view of the moon

Super Moon With Flower

Source: Shutterstock (Image credit: Source: Shutterstock)

Unlike some astronomical events, the Super Pink Moon will be very easy to see no matter where you are. If you can normally see the moon just fine from your home, you should have a clear view of the Super Pink Moon, too.

While you could try taking a picture through your window, we recommend stepping outside and finding a place where you have a good line-of-sight with the moon. If possible, you'll also want to make sure your view isn't obstructed by trees, buildings, or anything else.

If things aren't ideal where you live, it might be worth driving to a more rural area outside of town where you're dealing with fewer obstacles and distractions.

Take advantage of your phone's night mode

iPhone 11 Pro night mode

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

Over the past couple of years, night mode has become one of the more popular features for smartphone cameras. Whether you have a handset from Samsung, Google, or Apple, it more than likely has a setting that's designed specifically for taking pictures at night.

Assuming your phone has one of these night modes, you should absolutely enable it. Shooting in night mode usually takes longer than just snapping a photo in auto mode, but that's because the sensor is staying open for a longer period of time so that it can draw in more light.

You can manually enable night mode on almost all Android phones, but if you have an iPhone, it'll come on automatically once the camera detects the lighting around it is low.

Have a tripod? Use it

Pixel 4 on a tripod for astrophotography

Source: Hayato Huseman / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Hayato Huseman / Android Central)

Speaking of night mode, you may want to consider busting out a tripod for your phone (opens in new tab) if you're going to be shooting with it.

As great as night mode is for taking pictures of the night sky, you simply aren't going to get the best results by shooting with it while you hold your phone in your hand. On the Pixel 4, for example, night mode can take up to four minutes to complete taking a picture after pressing the shutter button. Unless you can keep your hand completely still for four minutes, that's not an ideal setup.

Instead, attach your phone to a tripod if you have one available. If not, find a bench, tree stump, or anything else to prop it up against so that it can take the picture without you having to hold it (and potentially ruin the shot).

Optical zoom can be very helpful

Google Pixel 4 XL

Source: Andrew Martonik / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Andrew Martonik / Android Central)

Another trend we've seen with smartphone cameras is the addition of optical zoom/telephoto sensors. The Galaxy S20 has 3x optical zoom and 30x Super Resolution Zoom, the Pixel 4 has 2x optical zoom that can get up to 8x with its Super Res Zoom feature, and so on.

Supermoons like the Super Pink Moon are notable for the fact that they're close to the earth than usual, but even so, it's still thousands upon thousands of miles away. You won't be able to make out every single detail with your smartphone's zoom, but magnifying the image is always helpful with a far-away object.

On this note, it's important to remember that optical zoom is very different from straight-up digital zoom. You can zoom in with all smartphone cameras, but only ones with a dedicated telephoto camera preserve detail and sharpness in your shots while getting up close to your subject.

A lot of modern Android handsets and the latest iPhones have a telephoto camera, but be sure to check the specs of your own device just to make sure ahead of time.

Good luck! 🌕

It might take you a couple of tries to get a picture of the Super Pink Moon that you're really happy with, and at the end of the day, you need to remember that capturing a photo like this with a smartphone is a difficult thing no matter who you are.

If you want to go a step further for the next supermoon that we get, consider investing into a new phone with a more capable camera. Smartphones have gotten really good in the camera department lately, so if you haven't bought a new phone in the past couple of years, you're missing out. The Galaxy S20 Ultra and Huawei P40 Pro are prime examples of phones that have taken smartphone photography to the next level.

Take your time, take plenty of shots, and you're bound to get something that looks halfway decent. Plus, if you need to, you can always spruce up the picture in your favorite editing app.

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

2 Comments
  • Looking forward to it! I've got a couple cameras lined up, including a Nikon with a 253mm lens.
    One more tip is to use the timer to start the shot, as this will prevent any movement while tapping the screen or pressing the shutter.
    I still think smartphones are inadequate on their own though, including the S20 Ultra. Below are three side by side moon shots.
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/YWYr4ZzHNn2Vd8376
  • Tonight was a hard fail where I live. Storms and rainy all night 😥