How to Photograph the Solar Eclipse

1. Choose your vantage point

The best place to view the solar eclipse is not inside the path of totality. For example, if you are in the UK or Ireland, you can watch the whole eclipse from the hills, but not from the middle of nowhere. The best places to view the eclipse are where the moon is high and the sun is low. In other words, where you can see a large part of the moon and a small part of the sun.

2. Use a dark sky

To reduce light pollution and avoid damaging your eyes, you should try to find a site in an area with clear skies. This will also help you with the task of taking the best photos.

3. Set up the camera

The camera you use will make a difference to the quality of your photos, so choose wisely. Most cameras have settings called aperture, shutter speed and ISO. Aperture controls the size of the opening in your lens and the amount of light it lets in. Shutter speed is the length of time the shutter is open and determines how fast your images appear. The higher the ISO the less light the sensor will let in, which means the camera will need to use longer shutter speeds to capture images. ISO is usually set automatically in most cameras, but you can increase the setting to make sure your images are clear. Your camera will also have a manual mode where you can change the settings. You can take your photos using auto mode or full manual mode. Auto mode will usually work fine, but you can also make changes to exposure in full manual mode.

4. Keep your distance

Your camera’s lens will magnify the image by a factor of approximately ten times. This means if you are shooting at 500mm, the object is half an inch across on your camera screen. To avoid blurring your photos, your lens needs to be very close to the object you are photographing. The further away you are from the object, the more blurred your images will be.

5. Use filters

Filters can improve your photographs and make the sun look more like a diamond. You can buy filters at a hobby shop, but you can also make them yourself. It is quite simple. Just put a piece of white paper behind your camera lens and carefully cut out a circle the same size as the lens. Place the filter on top of your camera lens, then twist to secure it. You can now take photographs as normal.

6. Set up your tripod

If you are using a tripod, this will make taking your photos much easier. A tripod allows you to adjust your camera to a specific position and keep it there for the duration of your photo session.

7. Focus on the sun

Using your camera’s autofocus system is fine for taking pictures of a moving object, such as a plane, a car or a child, but when it comes to photographing the sun, you will need to manually focus. It is best to begin by focusing on the sun, then working your way back to the edge of your frame.

8. Adjust your settings

After taking your photos, you will probably want to download them to your computer and edit them. You can do this straightaway, but you should wait until the end of the day to do it. If you shoot in RAW format, you will not lose any of the original data and will be able to make changes. When you import your files, you can select whether you want to process them in the camera or on your computer.

9. Get creative

Take your photos in any way you wish, but do keep in mind that the best ones will be the ones you took when the moon was as close as possible to the sun. This will give the best view of the sun’s corona.