Total Solar Eclipse: 3 Apps to Capture the Moment & Drone Dos and Don’ts During the Solar Eclipse

Disclosure: I’m a compensated member of the U.S. Cellular Blogger Brigade, but I’m pretty excited about the upcoming total solar eclipse and hope you’ll find these tips helpful.

When Was the Last Total Solar Eclipse?

Did you happen to hear there’s a total solar eclipse happening on Monday? I mean, who hasn’t heard about it, right? People are buying special glasses, schools are considering giving students the day off, and I’m just over here feeling a little bummed that we won’t get as good a view as some in other parts of the country. Regardless, though, I’m excited for the solar eclipse on August 21, 2017 because let’s face it, it’s kind of a big deal since this kind of thing doesn’t happen every day. As a matter of fact, the last one occurred in 1979!

Total Solar Eclipse Tips and Tricks

One of the most exciting things about the upcoming total solar eclipse is that with smartphone technology there are ways to capture the moment without needing any fancy camera equipment. Where I live we’ll see a partial solar eclipse and I plan to have my Samsung Galaxy S8 ready and waiting so I can snap a few photos at just the right moment. While I know my phone has one of the best smartphone cameras I also realize that in this case it won’t be as simple as pulling out my phone and taking a photo, which is why I have some great tips to share.

Is it Safe to Look at a Solar Eclipse?

Regardless of where you are in the path of the eclipse you’ll be able to take some great photos, but it’s important to follow a few safety guidelines so you don’t harm your eyes. I certainly don’t want any of us to miss the eclipse, but looking directly at the sun or taking photos of it without a special filter isn’t safe, except when the moon fully blocks the sun’s face for a short time when the total phase of the solar eclipse occurs. Be careful, friends!

How to Photograph the Total Solar Eclipse with Your Smartphone

Now I have a few tips, including a couple of useful apps, to help you capture a perfect shot of the rare total solar eclipse happening this Monday!

  1. To make it a fun experience for everyone, do not use the flash on your camera because it will spoil the dark adaptation of people’s eyes and might ruin the eclipse for those around you.
  2. Try playing around with your smartphone camera settings beforehand and think about downloading an app to enhance your total solar eclipse viewing experience.  A few good ones include 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 rare and special moment.
  3. Most smartphone cameras will be able to capture the moon’s darkened disk surrounded by an observable bright solar ring, but it’s best not to zoom in on the eclipse. Zooming in will distort your image and lower its quality and since it will probably be a really long time until a solar eclipse happens again, you’ll want to get it right.

Can You Capture the Total Solar Eclipse with a Drone?

It seems like more and more people are using drones to capture images and videos and the total solar eclipse is a wonderful opportunity to do so. A drone can be used to catch video of the moon’s shadow as it approaches and passes over the sun while also crossing the landscape and recording reactions of people watching the eclipse. Unfortunately, though, a drone isn’t ideal for getting footage of the actual eclipse, so keep a smartphone handy for that purpose.
In consideration of others when flying a drone during the solar eclipse make sure you avoid areas with lots of people and don’t fly your drone between groups of  people and the eclipse.

Are you looking forward the total solar eclipse? How are you preparing based on where you live in its path? 


  1. Thank you for the phone picture taking tips! I am going to start getting familiar with those today! I really hope people heed the warnings and are careful about eye protection!

  2. You’ve got some great tips! We’re really excited about the eclipse and I’m so glad I got our glasses early since they’re pretty scarce now. Our whole family is looking forward to Monday!

  3. Thanks for these tips! Hubby and I have our eclipse glasses but I wasn’t really thinking about taking pictures, which I’m sure we’ll do,

    • I’m so glad you have those glasses because I hear they’re pretty tough to come by at this point. Even if you don’t snap a photo I hope you enjoy this truly special event!

  4. We won’t be in the path of the eclipse so we are watching it online. Here it’s just going to get dark for a short time. Kinda sucky, I wish we had of known in advance… We would have gone to the states.

    • That is a bummer, Heather! Where I live we’ll only get to see a partial eclipse, but I’m still looking forward to experiencing it since I have no recollection of the one that occurred in 1979.

  5. These are good tips! We’re really looking forward to Solar Eclipse and I’ll be ready with my Samsung Galaxy S8 too!

  6. Dawn Nieves says

    These a great tips! I need to check out some of these apps. I’ve never heard of them before but I’m going to try them now.

  7. Awesome tips for this exciting event! I’ve never heard of these apps but I will most definitely check it out.
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    • Thanks, Jasmine! It really is such an exciting time. Even if we aren’t able to get an actual photo I hope to enjoy the moment, you know, like they did back in 1979.

  8. i have a dentist appt right in the middle of the eclipse so I’m afraid I’ll have to miss the good stuff but I will definitely give the links for these apps to my hubby so he can try to get some good shots. He loves photography.
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    • Of all places to be stuck during the total solar eclipse I’m thinking the dentist chair might be my least favorite. Hopefully you’ll at least catch a glimpse of it, or at least see some great photos that your husband got!

  9. I hadn’t done my homework yet on the eclipse so I’m so excited now and a way to commemorate the fun!
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  10. Thanks for the tips I m am going to apply this for future keep sharing knowledge like this

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  13. Thanks for this amazing blog ,it would really help me in future.I learned a lot about smartphone from your articles. thank you
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  14. Very helpful tips! Learned many things about smartphone from your articles.

  15. Excellent article. Yes, The world is a smartphone !!! While I’m just getting into mobile design/dev myself, it does seem to be extremely flexible. Even better, anyone with a cursory knowledge of the front end can put one together.

  16. best smartphone provide very good service for taking pictures.

  17. Amazing Blog about the best smartphone

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