Turn a 4-minute eclipse into photos your family will enjoy forever, thanks to your phone.

By: Cara Jurkowski

With Verizon’s tips, you’ll be ready to photograph the heavens with the smartphone in your pocket.

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What’s a full solar eclipse like? If you ask anyone who’s experienced it in person, you’ll hear things like:

“It’s not like anything you’ve ever seen!”

“It’s as dark as night, but it doesn’t feel like night…”

“It’s strange and amazing– I can’t really describe it.”

“The animals all stopped what they were doing and started singing in unison. I think it was ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight…’”

Okay, I made that last one up, but as any eclipse-chaser (also known as umbraphiles, coronaphiles, eclipsoholics, and ecliptomaniacs) will tell you, watching the shadow of the moon move over the sun is a very special event.

Whether you’re the kind of person who falls to your knees and weeps with joy at the majesty of nature, or just want to make sure that your social media followers know you’re one of the roughly 31 million people who live along the path of totality, you’ll want to shoot some photos as the sun and moon slow dance across the horizon.

These are our tips on how you can get epic eclipse pics on your smartphone:

1. Use the latest and greatest smartphone you can get your hands on, for the best resolution possible (phones with optical zoom are best: Apple iPhone 15, Samsung Galaxy s24, Google Pixel 8 Pro). If you’re thinking about upgrading, now might be the time to do it.

2. Plan ahead: the next eclipse viewable from coast to coast is in 2045.Unless you have the patience to wait 41 years to catch the next eclipse viewable in the lower 48, have your phone, gear, and settings ready to go ahead of time so that during totality, you are ready to snap.

3. Turn off the flash. It won’t add anything to your picture, and anyone around you will likely be very annoyed by the flash going off.

4. Consider using a smartphone lens cover to help you see the moon begin to eclipse the sun (and possibly spot some sunspots along the way). Remember though, that lens covers don't necessarily double as solar-eclipse glasses, so always wear protective solar-eclipse glasses that are CE- and ISO-certified while taking eclipse photos.

5. Don’t zoom in on the eclipse, but do use optical telephoto, if you have that option (as on the phones mentioned in #2 above). Regular zoom will decrease the quality of the image.

6. Use your camera’s burst mode at the very beginning and very end of totality to capture the eclipse’s “diamond ring” (when the sun is just peeking out of the corona).

7. Looking for a more natural eclipse image? Put your smartphone in RAW mode or use a RAW photo app, which will capture the image without any additional processing.

8. Get stable: if you have a tripod and a smartwatch that can operate your phone’s camera, you can stabilize your shot in advance and then record with a corresponding app on your watch so you don’t have to disrupt your shot during filming.

9. Safely enjoy the eclipse no matter where you are with eclipse smartphone apps (like this one, available for free from NASA for Amazon, Android and iOS). There are many free and paid apps out there to help you prepare for, track and safely enjoy the eclipse – whether or not you’re on its path.

A final word about planning for eclipses

I’ll just leave you with a tale that has lived in my head since July 1991, when my dad, an amateur astronomer, brought the family on a trip to see the solar eclipse he planned meticulously.

We traveled with a lot of gear: his enormous telescope, various lenses and filters, camera bags the size (and weight) of watermelons, and two kids in tow, one a surly teen who found two arcade games in the hotel lounge and never left, and an eleven-year old ninja in training that frequently tried to sweep the telescope off it’s tripod while tossing cardboard ninja stars at everything that moved.

In the end, there was only one thing my dad couldn’t plan for: the weather. It was clear, mild and beautiful every day we were there – except the only one that mattered.

I have my fingers crossed for clear skies next week as he joins my family in the backyard (but I do have video games ready as a backup).

V Team, go to Inside Verizon Intranet to join the conversation

About the author:

Cara Jurkowski is a failed standup comedian who made up for her lack of comedic success by spending the past two decades telling stories about the communications industry and the amazing people who work to connect the world. When she is not writing about Verizon, she lives in an unofficial Lego museum, slowly working through a steadily growing backlog of unbuilt sets at a perfectly acceptable pace.

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