Tech Tips for Snapping the Best Pics of the Solar Eclipse

The first total solar eclipse viewable across the United States in nearly a century will fall across the majority of Nebraska on Aug. 21.

At Lukas Partners, we know what value good images and video can add to an organization’s presence on social media, so we wanted to pass along some photo/video tips recently released by our client, U.S. Cellular.

Whether you are located in the eclipse’s path of totality or not, you can still snap great photos and video of this rare phenomenon with a smartphone or drone. U.S. Cellular has provided technology tips to safely capture and enjoy the total solar eclipse, which beats waiting for the next occurrence in the continental U.S. in October 2023.

No Flashing – To ensure the safety and enjoyment of everyone around you, do not use a camera flash of any kind because it will ruin the dark adaptation of people’s eyes and could spoil the event for others.

Apps and Settings – Individuals should experiment with their smartphone camera settings ahead of time and consider downloading an app, such as Camera+ or NightCap Camera for iPhone and iPad or Night Camera for Android devices. These apps can provide higher-quality photos and video in low-light and help you prepare to capture this moment. For additional preparation, you can pre-focus your camera on a full moon prior to the event, double check camera settings and make sure your device is fully charged.

Drone Do’s and Don’ts – Drones are suitable to catch video of the approaching and retreating shadow of the moon as it crosses the landscape, and the fun reactions of people enjoying the eclipse. However, they are not good for catching the eclipse itself. If you decide to fly a drone during the solar eclipse, avoid populated areas and practice good wireless etiquette by not flying a drone between crowds and the eclipse.

Not Too Close – Most smartphone cameras will be able to pick up the moon’s darkened disk surrounded by a recognizable bright solar corona, but you should avoid zooming into the eclipse, as it will give you a pixelated, enlarged image that will not show much detail.

While the total solar eclipse is not to be missed, there are safety procedures that should be followed. Looking directly at the sun or taking photos of it without a special filter is unsafe except during the brief total phase of a solar eclipse, when the moon entirely blocks the sun’s face.

More information is available online through NASA or the American Astronomical Society.

About the blogger: Kevin Schuster is a senior account executive at Lukas Partners. Kevin manages public relations and fundraising for Lukas Partners’ clients, including U.S. Cellular in Iowa and Nebraska.

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