12 Eclipse Photo Ideas & Tips for Spectacular Shots

By Tata Rossi 15 days ago, Inspiration

Capturing an eclipse and trying out these eclipse photo ideas can be a fun experience for photographers at any skill level. To make sure you get great shots, it's important to prepare well (like knowing about upcoming eclipses) and use smart techniques. Below, I'll share my experience to help make your eclipse pictures better.

1. Plan Ahead

app to find eclipse interface

Before the event, find out the exact date, time, and location of the eclipse. Use websites like NASA or apps like One Eclipse to get accurate information. 

Additionally, visit the spot before the eclipse. Make sure to check for clear horizons, any obstructions, and the best angles. It is also important to make sure that the place provides a good view and there is no light pollution.

2. Use Proper Equipment

When shooting at night, a DSLR or mirrorless camera with manual settings is the best choice. For instance, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV has a quick and precise autofocus system, which is great for capturing the changing light during an eclipse. Its built-in image stabilization helps reduce camera shake, especially when using telephoto lenses to get a closer view of the eclipse. 

A telephoto lens of 200mm or longer will allow you to capture detailed images.

Using a tripod, like the SmallRig CT210, is crucial for getting clear and stable eclipse photos. With the long exposure times needed for eclipse photography, even a tiny camera movement can cause blurry pictures. A tripod provides a stable base to keep your camera steady, reducing the chance of camera shake and ensuring sharp images.

Always use a solar filter to protect both your camera and your eyes. Never point your camera at the sun without one.

3. Adjust Your Settings

I've prepared recommended camera settings for astrophotography for you. These settings are also good for shooting an eclipse and include aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and focus mode. You might need to adjust them depending on the eclipse phase and weather conditions. (These are the settings I usually use).

Camera Setting My Value Overview

Camera Mode

Manual (M)

Allows full control over exposure settings.

Aperture

f/8 - f/16

Use a smaller aperture for increased depth of field and sharper images.

Shutter Speed

1/1000s - 1/125s

Adjust shutter speed based on the brightness of the sun or moon's phase.

ISO

ISO 100 - ISO 400

Use the lowest ISO possible to minimize noise in the images.

Focus Mode

Manual (MF)

Set focus manually to ensure sharpness, especially during totality.

Image Stabilization

Turned Off

If using a tripod, turn off image stabilization to avoid interference.

White Balance

Daylight (or Custom)

Use daylight white balance setting or create a custom white balance if necessary.

File Format

RAW

Take photos in RAW format to have more flexibility when editing them later.

Metering Mode

Spot or Center-weighted

Use spot metering to measure exposure from the sun or moon's surface.

Exposure Compensation

0 (or adjust as needed)

Use exposure compensation to fine-tune exposure if necessary.

Long Exposure Noise Reduction

Off

Disable this feature to avoid delays between shots during multiple exposures.

4. Make Time-Lapse

eclipse photo idea time lapse

Take pictures of the entire eclipse from beginning to end using a time-lapse sequence. Put your camera on a stand and snap photos regularly throughout the eclipse. Then, combine the images into a time-lapse video to show the moon or sun moving across the sky, creating an amazing visual effect. This is a great eclipse photo idea.

Pro tip: My Canon camera has intervalometer features for capturing time-lapse sequences directly. Alternatively, you can use time-lapse apps like Lapse It, which lets you capture time-lapse sequences with your smartphone or import photos taken with a DSLR.

5. Try an Eclipse Silhouette

eclipse photo idea silhouette

Choose a scenic location with interesting foreground elements like trees, buildings, or landmarks. Position yourself so that the eclipse occurs behind these objects, creating a dramatic silhouette effect.

Experiment with various compositions and angles to frame the eclipse with silhouetted scenery, which will add depth and drama to your silhouette photography.

6. Don't Forget About Close-Ups

eclipse photo idea closeup

Get close-up shots of the eclipse using a telephoto lens or a telescope with a solar filter. Zoom in on details like sunspots, prominences, or the lunar surface during a lunar eclipse. Focus on capturing fine details and textures to showcase the celestial beauty of the eclipse up close.

7. Capture Eclipse Reflections

eclipse photo idea reflection

Photograph the solar eclipse reflected in calm bodies of water, like lakes, rivers, or ponds. To do this, find a spot with still water to get clear reflections of the moon or sun during the eclipse. Also, try different angles and perspectives to create captivating mirror-like images that enhance the eclipse's visual impact.

8. Include People in Your Eclipse Photos

eclipse photo idea people

Include people in your eclipse photos to show scale, context, and human interest. Capture images of viewers watching the eclipse or feature silhouetted figures against the backdrop of the eclipse. This will help express the awe and wonder that this celestial event inspires.

Try different poses and setups to make an interesting visual story of the eclipse experience.

9. Mix Eclipse and Architecture

eclipse photo idea architecture

Look for cities with modern buildings made of glass or tall buildings. Take pictures of the eclipse reflected in the glass or on the buildings' surfaces to mix natural and man-made things creatively.

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10. Include Eclipse Composite

eclipse photo idea composite

Take a picture that mixes different photos of the eclipse taken at different times. Begin with a regular photo of the landscape or sky without the eclipse. Then, add darker photos as the eclipse moves on. Mix them to show the whole eclipse event in one amazing picture.

For this, I suggest using Photoshop or GIMP. These programs have advanced features for layering and blending that make it easy to create smooth composite images. You can stack different eclipse photos, adjust how visible they are, and blend them using layer masks.

11. Try Doing Eclipse Star Trails

eclipse photo idea star trails

To create a beautiful celestial panorama, blend the eclipse with long-exposure star trail photography. For this night photo idea, place your camera on a tripod and capture a sequence of long-exposure photos showing both the eclipse and the nighttime sky. As the Earth moves, the stars will create streaks of light around the eclipsed moon or sun, giving your pictures a surreal touch.

12. Deal with Eclipse Panorama

eclipse photo idea panorama

For this eclipse photo idea, capture a panoramic view of the eclipse to include the wide sky and surrounding landscape. Use a wide-angle lens or take several overlapping photos and merge them to make a panoramic image.

I suggest showing the whole eclipse event with the horizon in the background to highlight the scale and beauty of the celestial display.

Notable Eclipses in the Next Few Years

Over the next few years, people around the world will be able to see several important eclipses. This table gives detailed information about the upcoming solar and lunar eclipses from 2024 to 2026. It includes the dates, types of eclipses, and the areas where they can be seen. Whether you're a dedicated eclipse watcher or just curious, this guide will help you plan to see these amazing events.

2024

17-18 September

Lunar (Partial)

Europe, Much of Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Pacific, Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Arctic, Antarctica

2 October

Solar (Annular)

South in North America, Much of South America, Pacific, Atlantic, Antarctica

2025

13-14 March

Lunar (Total)

Europe, Much of Asia, Much of Australia, Much of Africa, North America, South America, Pacific, Atlantic, Arctic, Antarctica

29 March

Solar (Partial)

Europe, North in Asia, North/West Africa, Much of North America, North in South America, Atlantic, Arctic

7-8 September

Lunar (Total)

Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, West in North America, East in South America, Pacific, Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Arctic, Antarctica

21 September

Solar (Partial)

South in Australia, Pacific, Atlantic, Antarctica

2026

17 February

Solar (Annular)

Africa's south, South America, the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian Ocean, and Antarctica.

2-3 March

Lunar (Total)

East in Europe, Asia, Australia, North America, South America, Pacific, Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Arctic, Antarctica

12 August

Solar (Total)

Europe, North in Asia, North/West Africa, Much of North America, Pacific, Atlantic, Arctic

27-28 August

Lunar (Partial)

Europe, West in Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Pacific, Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Antarctica

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