How to Plan Any Shot You Imagine With the Sun and Moon Using PhotoPills

Masters say that what makes the difference between a good shot and a truly memorable shot is being able to design the image carefully before you press the shutter.

When it comes to landscape photography, applying this principle becomes even more challenging. Too many questions arise: how can I plan natural light (sun and moon) in advance? How can I compose images that involve the sun or moon? How can I know when the sun or moon will be where I desire? How can I do it fast?

Well, I’ve just found the answer to all these questions on the App Store. I am happy to present PhotoPills, the unique iOS app that gives you the creative control over the composition of images with the sun and moon.

What am I talking about? Watch the following video where the three developers show us how they imagined, planned and captured a dramatic sunset under a natural bridge in Menorca.

Your next shot could be a full moon setting under a secret stone arch, a sunrise between two giant rocks located on a magic beach, a sunset over the main street in your hometown or a dramatic full moon appearing from behind a nearby hill. Let your imagination fly; now you can easily calculate when the scene you have in your mind happens for any location on Earth.

Let’s take a closer look to the basic steps you must follow when planning a shot with PhotoPills.

Location Scouting, Create Your Own Database

2- Location
You surely spend many hours looking for unique locations to shoot. When you come across such a magic location like this natural arch, it’s impossible not to imagine a sunset under it.

3- Pois Map

First thing you must do is to keep the location. Use PhotoPills to save it as a Point of Interest and create your own database of secret locations.

4- Pois Gallery

Also, save descriptive photos and notes to better remember the place. If you wish to share your locations with your friends you can export them by e-mail or share them on Facebook and Twitter.

Imagine, Design the Image

5- Imagine

As you’re enjoying the beautiful views, many possible compositions may come across your mind. Now it’s time to decide the shot you wish to take. It’s time to decide where you want the sun or moon to be.

In this case, the Developers wanted to capture the sunset under the natural bridge, therefore they looked for a position from where was possible to see the horizon through the bridge.

Plan, Calculate When it Happens

6- Planner Find

Once you’ve found the best place from where to shoot, take your iPhone and start PhotoPills. Tap on the Planner tool, place the red pin in the location from where you wish to shoot and use the find option to set the desired position of the sun.

7- Planner Results

First, set the azimuth of the sun equal to the azimuth of the natural bridge because you desire the sun to be aligned with it. Second, set an elevation equal to zero degrees because you want to find a sunset. Finally, tap the search button to get a table with all possible dates it happens.

8- Planner Plan

Now, you only have to select the best day that suits your schedule. Tap on the desired date to see the plan on the main screen of the Planner.

It’s very useful to save the plan in your To-Do list of planned photos to never waste an unmissable scene again. Or export your plan by email and invite your friends to come with you to take the photo. PhotoPillers will be able to import and study the shot you’ve planned.

Double Check

9- Augmented Realty

To figure out whether you’ve done the planning work correctly, use the 3D Augmented Reality Viewers to visualize, in situ, whether the sun or moon will be at the right position the time of pressing the shutter.

Shoot, Capture Unique Moments

On the shooting day, just feel the adrenaline rush you get from being outside viewing how the sun or the moon is moving towards the position you planned months ago.

10 - Antoni Cladera -1
(Photo by Antoni Cladera,

11- Antoni Cladera -2
(Photo by Antoni Cladera,

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(Photo by Antoni Cladera,

PhotoPills is an ALL IN ONE Solution

13- Menu

PhotoPills is more than the best map-centric natural light planner in the market, it also includes:
Photo Plannings Manager – Location Scouting – 10.500 Locations – Sun, Moon Finder – Shadows – Obstacles – Sun, Moon, Twilights, Magic Hours Info – Sun, Moon, Milky Way, Celestial Equator, Polaris, Circumpolar Stars 3D Augmented Reality (AR) Viewer – Sunrise, Sunset Calendar – Moon Calendar – Perigees, Apogees – Time Lapse, Star Trails, Spot Stars, Long Exposure Calculators – Direct, Inverse Advanced Depth of Field Calculator- DoF, Hyperfocal Table – Direct, Inverse Field of View, Subject Distance, Focal Length Match Calculators – DoF, FoV 3D AR Viewers – Complete User Guide – and Much More…

As happens with all innovations, it takes a little bit of practice to master PhotoPills. But don’t panic! The Developers have thought on that too. They’ve prepared 11 video tutorials to help you take advantage of PhotoPills from the first day. You can find them here: Tutorials (

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