Eclipse Photography With Your Phone: 5 Important Tips
We are in the final countdown for the Total Solar Eclipse! Hopefully you read my article last month with tips for viewing the total solar eclipse and ways to get the most out of this very rare event!
If you are hoping to capture some great photos of this epic event, here are some simple tips that will help you get the very best pictures with your phone.
How to Photograph the Solar Eclipse
1. Turn off the Flash
First and most importantly, learn how to shut off the flash in your phone before the day of the eclipse. NO FLASH photography during an eclipse. If your camera flashes during totality, not only will you interfere with other people’s eyes adapting to the darkness and affect their views of totality, but it’s just a major eclipse faux pas. The flash must be shut off, not just left on automatic, or your camera will sense the darkness and the flash will go off.
2. Use a Solar Filter
You should know that just as an eclipse can be harmful to our eyes, it can also be harmful to a camera. Don’t point any camera at the sun, especially zoomed in without a solar filter, because you risk ruining your sensor.
To protect your camera, you can take one of the cheap solar glasses, cut out the filter from one of the eye holes and tape that filter over the camera lens on your phone to take the partial phase images (when it is still bright) and get the ever shrinking sun. When it gets dark and you are in totality, remove the piece of filter that you taped on. Take pictures of totality WITHOUT the filter.
You will basically be covering the lens at the same times you covering and protecting your eyes. For the best guidance on how and when to do this, I suggest downloading this Solar Eclipse Timer App which will announce for you the correct times in which you should be wearing glasses and covering camera lenses. The app is only $1.99 and very user-friendly. It’s like having a personal astronomer by your side to talk you through the eclipse!
Because your phone can’t run the camera and another app at the same time, you must run the Solar Eclipse Timer App on a second phone that you will NOT be using for photography.
3. Invest in a tripod
This doesn’t need to be anything fancy, but it is hard to hold your phone up and take zoomed in pictures of the sun. I also recommend buying one of those universal phone holders that has a threaded hole on the bottom to put your phone on a tripod to take these shots. With this equipment, you will get much better results and won’t have to worry about holding still as you try to capture everything.
4. Practice beforehand
Since this eclipse is high in the sky for the majority of the country, you have to practice working your phone while pointing upward on a tripod. You will have a very small window of photography time for the eclipse, so you will want to have already experimented with your phone’s camera. There are phone apps available that allow more manual control of the camera, and you might consider researching some of these.
5. Have a plan of action
This will help to minimize stress and maximize the enjoyment of this phenomenal event!
If you have more questions about total eclipse photography, head over the NASA website for more in-depth information and guidance to ensure that you get the very best photos possible. And don’t forget to download the Solar Eclipse Timer app I mention above.
And most importantly, enjoy your viewing of what promises to be an event to remember for a lifetime!
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Photo Credits: Gordon Telepun, MD
Keri Lyn is an Idaho girl, born and raised. She shares her country home with her husband Brady, a veterinarian, and their two children–a son (10) and a…