This month's solar eclipse which will be visible to 99% of the United States will no doubt be the most photographed event in history. Most people who are fortunate enough to be able to witness even the partial eclipse will try to take photos of the event with their smartphone. The question is: can you get a good shot with a smartphone camera?
Professional photographers like Rick Murray have spent thousands of dollars on filters, lenses and telescopes to capture photos of the solar eclipse.
You on the other hand will use a smartphone. When I asked Murray for some smartphone camera advice here's what he said:
"Put a filter over the lens on the back of the camera and set it manually, because the problem you're going to have is it's going to be so dim through a filter that the camera is going to have a tough time focusing and a hard time exposing for it."
A quick online search reveals that solar filters are about $100. Since most people won't think of spending extra money for just one good picture of the eclipse, many people will try to shoot the sun So here's what many of you will try: holding up a pair of eclipse glasses in front of the camera lens. Let's what it'll look like.
The sun will be very small in your photos and videos. You can buy a telephoto lens for your smartphone camera for around $40 that'll make the sun appear bigger.
You're probably not going to do that either.
But if you want to try anyway, here are a few things need to do:
First, put the phone in airplane mode. You don't want it to ring and interrupt the shooting and put the phone somewhere where it won't move. A tripod like this one from gorilla pod attaches to anything by wrapping the magnetic legs around something. Use a camera app like ProCamera that has manual settings. If you want to do it on the cheap with an extra pair of eclipse glasses: once you get the sun in the frame, tap the screen on the sun to focus as much as you possibly can. Otherwise clouds and the moon will cause the camera to adjust exposure and focus. the event will last quite a while so forget about shooting video. Instead shoot a timelapse.
And remember, if you're in the path of totality, be ready to remove the glasses from the phone when it's covered by the moon. Take pictures and video of the people around you looking at the eclipse. That's going to be better than anything else you get. Leave the real shots to the pros.
"I think people who are photographing it with their phone are going to be very disappointed," said Murray, adding: "but i guess it’s better than nothing.