Planning for a Full Moon


Today’s Question: Thanks to your mention of the supermoon, I was able to get some nice photos of it. But how can you determine when the full moon will occur, and is it possible to plan in advance for where it will be visible?

Tim’s Quick Answer: There are a variety of tools that are helpful with planning photos that include the moon (or the sun), but one of my favorites is The Photographer’s Ephemeris (

More Detail: The Photographer’s Ephemeris (TPE) is available through a web browser, or as a smartphone app, and I find it invaluable for planning photos that include the moon or the sun. That includes planning for photos based on when the light will be right, even if the sun won’t be in the frame. In fact, I created a course demonstrating how I use The Photographer’s Ephemeris, which is available on the GreyLearning website with a discount included automatically if you use this link to get started:

With TPE, you can plan ahead for specific celestial events. For example, when setting the date for which you want to plan, you’ll see a list of events, including phases of the moon, meteor showers, and eclipses.

Once you know the date you’ll be photographing, you can also use TPE to help plan the right location to be. For example, I’ve used TPE to choose where to photograph from when I know there will be a full moon rising around sunset. This is done through a map, with lines projected to show you the relative position of the sun or moon based on any position on the map.