How to take a photo of the eclipse without damaging your phone

Tatiana Kalish of El Segundo watches a partial solar eclipse at the California Science Center in Los Angeles in 2017. Another partial eclipse will be visible in Southern California on Monday. (Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times)

Interested in taking a photo of the upcoming photo monday without ruining your smartphone?

Here are some tips. And remember: Do not look at the sun with the naked eye, which puts you at risk of permanent eye damage.

Read more: Millions of Americans will see a total solar eclipse in April. Here’s how to see it

Do not point your phone’s camera lens at the sun for long periods of time without a special filter

Sometimes it is not a camera safety issue to include the sun in a photo for a quick shot. It’s not that different from the many photos we usually take of sunrises and sunsets.

“But we wouldn’t recommend pointing it directly at the sun for long periods of time without a filter,” according to Google’s Pixel camera team.

“There’s not really a case of damage, provided you don’t try to do anything funny but leave it out there with the camera open for a long time,” said Ed Krupp, longtime director of the Griffith Observatory.

Krupp suggested shooting wide-angle scenes with a smartphone; the sun will look small in the photo, “but you have the landscape around there.”

For a close-up shot, place eclipse glasses or certified solar filters over the camera lens

Placing a special solar filter over the lens protects the camera, says NASA.

If you’re lucky enough to be within the entire 115-mile-long path — which stretches through states like Texas, Illinois, Ohio and New York — “be sure to remove the filter so you can see the sun’s outer atmosphere – the corona,” says NASA.

Those few minutes when the moon completely blocks the sun are also the only times when it is safe to look at the eclipsing sun without wearing special glasses. Totality will not be visible from anywhere in California during this eclipse.

During totality, a Panorama shot may be able to capture the sunrise-sunset wraparound effect.

Read more: How to watch the solar eclipse from California – and avoid heartbreak if you’re looking for ‘totality’

If you are placing your smartphone against a telescope or binoculars, it is essential that a solar filter is placed on the outermost lens of the latter. Placing a cell phone camera against an unfiltered telescope or binoculars aimed at the sun can damage the phone’s camera and cause eye damage, as the devices’ magnifying power amplifies the sun’s powerful rays.

You can use black tape or cloth to reduce the light between the solar filter and the camera lens.

Tripods can also be helpful. And practice ahead of the eclipse is smart.

There are several paid apps that can help people plan to take eclipse photos, specifically out-of-time shots: PhotoPills, Planit Pro and Photographer’s Ephemeris.

What about the chance for clouds?

Keep an eye on the forecast for Monday. One tool is going to the National Weather Service website,, and typing in your ZIP code. The weather in Southern California could be very changeable on Monday morning, with cloudy skies in some areas and sunny skies in others, according to Wednesday’s forecast.

Issued by the Weather Forecast Center of the National Weather Service daily maps showing forecast cloud cover for the eclipse for the contiguous USA

Read more: How do animals react during a total solar eclipse? Scientists plan to find out in April

Any other tips for iPhone, Samsung or Pixel users?

iPhone users

In the camera settings, check the “macro control” option and make sure this mode is not enabled if you are using a filter in front of the lens or if you are putting your phone up with a telescopic eye. A yellow flower icon indicates that “macro” mode is on; tap that icon to turn it off.

During the whole, ultrawide and wide cameras can help when it feels dark, as well as “night mode.” Try tapping on the eclipsed sun to capture the best exposure.

Samsung users

On Reddit, one user who described taking a photo of last year’s annular solar eclipse put solar filters over the lens and used the “pro mode, with ISO set to 50 and reduced the exposure and speed shutter until the exposure looked right.”

Another user on the Samsung message board suggested practicing before the eclipse, with the filter on, when it’s sunny. “You’ll want to keep your shutter speed pretty low and focus mainly on ISO,” said the user.

Pixel users

On the Pixel 8 Pro, try “pro controls,” or manual focus.

Do you have a GoPro?

GoPro says its devices don’t need a solar filter, and provides a comprehensive tip sheet. One idea the company offers is to use the time-lapse mode to “capture the strongest footage of the entire show,” but it also said it’s important to have a stable tripod and enough battery, and frame the shot so that the sun stays. for the duration of the video. GoPro recommends using sun tracking apps Sun Surveyor or PhotoPills.

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This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

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