Last Minute Tips for Taking Eclipse Photos With Your iPhone

Let’s face it: taking photos of the eclipse is hard, even for professionals. It requires special filters, fiddling with certain camera settings, a tripod, and carefully timing the shot. For most folks, they’ll simply point their iPhone up and grab a shot while they can. So here are some last minute tips for taking eclipse photos straight from NASA [PDF].


Although you can fry your DSLR if you try to photograph the eclipse without a special lens filter, it’s generally considered safe for iPhones because of the small sensor size. iPhone cameras also have built in UV filters that can cut through some of the light, as well as short exposure times.


Once the moon is completely between the earth and sun, you’ll only have about 2.5 minutes or less to take a photograph. If you have a tripod, go ahead and use it.

Taking eclipse photos with the iPhone.

  1. When you’re using your iPhone, make sure that the eclipse is properly in focus. Don’t leave it up to the auto-focus. You can manually set the focus just by tapping on the screen where you want the focus to be.
  2. Next, you can slide your finger up and down on the yellow square you see on the screen. This will control the exposure. A lower exposure is better in this situation because of the brightness of the sun.
  3. If you have an iPhone 7 Plus, you can take advantage of the telephoto lens to get a slightly bigger image. To do this, just tap the circled 1x above the on screen shutter button. Tapping it will turn it into 2x. You can also drag the circle to go into digital zoom mode up to 10x, but I personally stay away from digital zoom because it lowers the image quality.
  4. Depending on your location, you might want to include other objects in your photo in addition to the sun. Maybe a tree, or a mountain, or even another person. This will add a sense of depth to your image and make it more visually appealing.
  5. Finally, you can hold your finger down on the on screen shutter button to activate Burst Mode, which will take about 10-20 pictures per second. If you have a tripod, one idea is to use burst mode for the entire eclipse, and if you have the right software you could stitch the images together into a GIF.

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