This article will give you some tips on taking portraits by moonlight. We have been planning this shoot ever since our moonlit photo shoot in a cemetery last November. We just needed a nice bright moon and a clear sky with stars. Last night with a blue supermoon was the night.
There were clouds later in the afternoon and evening but the sky cleared up by the time we wanted to shoot. We waited until after 10 pm so the moon would be high enough in the sky to provide enough light for 10-15 second exposures. The white balance on the camera was set to daylight. I focused the lens on Ava. At 17mm and f/6.3 there is enough depth of field for the stars to be sharp.
Ava in the moonlight. Click the image to see a larger version
It is hard to focus at night and autofocus is essentially useless. Ava held a small pocket flashlight and I put the camera in live view mode (see the link below) at 10X magnification to manually focus on the head of the flashlight. The flashlight was pointed up, not at my camera lens.
It isn’t easy to hold a pose and not breath for 10 or 15 or 20 seconds, so expect to have some slightly blurry photos. I would cue Ava to take a couple of deep breaths. Then I would tell her I was about to open the shutter and I would tell her when the shutter closed.
Exposure Data: Canon 5D Mark III, Canon EF 17-40mm lens at 17mm. Aperture: f/6.3, Shutter: 10 seconds. ISO 1600.