How To Take Pictures Of The Solar Eclipse With Your Smartphone

Sometimes the best eclipse photos aren’t of the eclipse at all. Photo by David~O.

Everybody wants to capture the perfect eclipse photo today, but not everybody has thousands of dollars in professional photography equipment. Turns out you can take some half-way decent pics with your smartphone.

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Be Safe

As we’ve mentioned, make sure you’re not looking directly at the eclipse. You should have the right kind of protective eclipse glasses, and make sure to avoid the counterfeits. Wear them the entire time you’re shooting and viewing the eclipse. If you don’t have them—or a special pinhole box—don’t look at it.

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Use a Solar Filter and Lens If You’ve Got Them

Apple suggests your iPhone can shoot the eclipse straight up without any special equipment. It could even handle shooting a shot of the sun right now. Same goes for GoPros and some other smartphone cameras. Why? Everything you shoot will be wide angle, meaning the field of view is pretty large, and the amount of light coming in from the eclipse won’t damage the camera’s sensor.

That said, NASA cautions using any camera without a solar filter of some kind, especially if you’re going to use some sort of telephoto lens on your phone. So, if you have filters and lenses, use ‘em. If you’re worried about damaging your smartphone’s camera sensor, though, just wait until the moment of totality when the sun is completely behind the moon. You won’t need a filter for any kind of camera then.

Turn Off the Flash

Flash can help when you’re shooting in dark places, but not for eclipses. Todd Vorenkamp at Explora recommends you turn off the flash. For one, it’s useless when the sun is out, and there’s no way your flash will illuminate the dark side of the moon. Also, your flash will annoy people around you and possibly ruin their shots as well.

Don’t Count on Autofocus

Before you go to shoot the eclipse, make sure you’re not using autofocus on your smartphone’s camera. During the eclipse, the low light will confuse the camera and give you blurry, out-of-focus shots. To do this, simply tap the screen and hold your finger on the moon to lock the focus on it.

Adjust the Exposure

To keep your images from looking over-exposed and blown out, you need to adjust your exposure, or limit the amount of light that can come into your smartphone camera. On iOS, once you have your finger on the moon and locked your focus, slide it down to darken the exposure (you should see a small sun). On Android, the process is similar, but you may also be able to adjust the “exposure value” manually within the camera app.

Use a Tripod

During the eclipse it will be dark and you’ll be letting in as little light to your smartphone camera’s sensor as possible, so the slightest movement or nudge can turn your shot into a blurry mess. A tripod will keep it from moving too much.

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If you don’t have a tripod, or won’t be able to buy one in time, you can try building one yourself out of any materials you have at hand. Anything that will hold your phone still at the right angle will do. Heck, I once used a hat to shoot a long sunset timelapse.

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Record a Timelapse or Video, Shoot Other Things, and Enjoy the Eclipse

Okay, let’s face it. You’re not going to shoot an amazing eclipse photo with your smartphone. The good stuff is all going to come from pros using really expensive gear. What you can do, however, is something that’s more personal to you. A video of you and your friends or coworkers watching the eclipse can make a great memory. Or better yet, set up your phone to record a timelapse while you enjoy the eclipse.

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You can also look for other things to take photos of during the eclipse. Look for interesting shadows on the ground, get a shot of somebody doing something interesting with the eclipse in the background, take a pic of your pets confusion, or consider shooting a few quick commemorative pics for memory’s sake and just enjoy watching the eclipse with your (protected) eyes. Be present and take it all in. After all, there will be plenty of great photos of the event.

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Source : https://lifehacker.com/how-to-take-photos-during-todays-solar-eclipse-with-you-1798138605

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