If you’re a photographer who’s been dreaming of taking a photo of a solar eclipse, you might be surprised to learn that it’s possible to take a great picture with your phone. But first, you need to know how to get the best possible shot.
The first thing you need to do is figure out what kind of photos you want to take, then scout your location a few days before the event so that you can find the perfect place for you and your camera. Then, plan to be there at least two hours before the moon covers the sun, and keep shooting as it passes from one phase to the next until totality.
Don’t forget to bring your tripod or some other device that will keep your camera steady during the event, too! You can even buy a special time-lapse kit that allows you to record the event as it progresses over a period of time.
It’s also a good idea to have some other photography equipment handy, such as a telescope to magnify the sun’s image (inexpensive clip-on “telephoto” lens kits are often not enough).
Another important piece of gear you can’t go without is a solar filter. This is like sunglasses for your camera sensor, and keeps it safe from the sun’s harmful rays during totality.
This can be a little tricky to find, but they’re available at most big retailers and online. They’re usually available for less than $40, and they’ll protect your camera’s sensitive sensor.
Depending on your camera, you might also want to add a polarizer lens. These can be helpful for making the sun easier to see, but they’re also prone to degrading your pictures and aren’t recommended by NASA.
The best way to shoot a solar eclipse is with a DSLR or mirrorless camera. These cameras can capture much more detail than a smartphone, and will give you the opportunity to use lenses that offer wide-angle views of the sun.
You’ll also be able to set up a tripod and have more control over your settings, which will help you achieve a professional-looking image. If you don’t have a DSLR, there are plenty of apps out there that can help you capture the event in a beautiful way.
It’s also a great way to share the experience with friends and family. You can send them an email or post it on social media.
Before the eclipse, you can also practice twilight photos and video with your smartphone to help familiarize yourself with the camera’s capabilities in low-light conditions. This will allow you to feel more confident on the day of the event, which can help you avoid a headache or fidgeting at the last moment.
If you’re taking a video, make sure to use the front-facing camera and don’t point your phone up at the sun! This can lead to you accidentally looking directly at the sun without a filter.
You can even download a free app called Eclipse Megamovie that will tell you when the eclipse is reaching totality and you can remove your solar filter. The app will then alert you when it’s safe to put it back on for the partial phases of the event.