How to photograph the solar eclipse with your smartphone

Many who hope to capture the eclipse Monday using their professional digital cameras have been warned to protect their camera lenses with proper solar filters.

But what about smartphones?

Here are some general guidelines for taking successful smartphone photos of the solar eclipse.

Tips for taking a successful photograph with a smartphone

  • Use a tripod or rest your smartphone on a stable surface to avoid shaking.
  • Make manual adjustments. Focus on the eclipse by tapping the image on the screen and darkening or lightening the exposure. Do not rely on your smartphone's autofocus.
  • On iOS cameras, a sun icon will appear after you tap an object. This is the exposure slider. On Android cameras, the exposure setting can be found after tapping the gear icon.
  • NASA says zooming in with your smartphone will not alter the resolution of your shot. For a higher resolution shot, you will need telephoto lenses to clip directly over the existing smartphone lens.

Safety issues

  • NASA suggests using a pair of ISO-Certified sun-viewing glasses to cover the camera lens of your smartphone.
  • Smartphones were not meant for sun and moon photography because the camera lenses are very small.
  • Using optical filters to photograph the eclipse when you are not on the path of totality is risky.
  • Without a filter, the sun will appear like a blob of light with pixelated edges in your photograph.
  • According to NASA, the best way to protect your camera while pointing it at the sun is to cover the lens with a solar filter. If you photograph the solar disk without a filter, you will see nothing but sensor blooming.
  • Blooming happens when a large amount of light gets focused to a single point on your camera's image sensor. For example, when you take a photo of a supermoon with your smartphone, it will come out as a bright glowing orb floating against a black sky.