The big eclipse is coming up and I thought I’d give you some not-so-common tips for photographing it. I’m not going to give you settings, gear, etc… because there are thousands of places on the internet with that info. So my tips will be more from a practical and creative standpoint.

If you’d like more tips, my friend Hudson Henry did a great video. I won’t be covering any settings or gear so this would be a good place to go (although pretty late at this point) if you need help.

And of course, it goes without saying… safety first… protect your eyes, and make sure your protect your camera with the correct types of filters. Now, on to the tips:

NOTE: Don’t forget to check out my editing video too (Click Here)


If the first time you shoot upwards toward the sun, using the settings and gear, etc.. is the day of the eclipse, then you’re pretty much done before you started and chances are you won’t get the photos you want. You have to practice. Get out and shoot the sun, the moon, etc… use the filters and gear and settings ahead of time as best as you can. 

Mistakes – Learn From Last Time

If you photographed the eclipse back in 2017 and didn’t get photos you were happy with, then now is the time to go back and look through and figure out why. What went wrong? From looking at over 800 photos of the last eclipse that people submitted to me, I can share some of the big mistakes I noticed.

Mistake 1: Nail the focus

This is non-negotiable. No matter how good of a photo you take, if it’s not in focus, there is nothing you can do to sharpen it. Out of the 800+ photos I looked at, I’d say half were not in focus, and unusable at any size larger than a small social media post. Figure this out ahead of time, but I can’t stress the importance.

Mistake 2: Raw or JPG

Don’t shoot in JPG. Shoot raw because you WILL NEED as much editing leeway as possible with your bright and dark areas. 

Mistake 3: Bracketing

Exposure bracketing can be your friend to help nail the exposure. But don’t overdo it. There is no reason for 7 different exposures of every shot. Again, this goes back to practice. 

Mistake 4: Avoid Overexposed Photos

Over-exposed – If you have overexposed the whites and they flare too much, and glow so much that no details can be seen or too much flare is around, you’re done. There will be nothing you can do with these photos. While exposing to the right (ETTR) is a good and valid exposure game plan for most photography, it is not for eclipses unless you consider yourself highly advanced. If in doubt, shoot darker not brighter. 

Mistake 5: Don’t go too Wide Unless You Have Compelling Foreground

If you’re just photographing the sun, then you need a zoom lens. You won’t be able to crop in with a wide angle lens. If you shoot with a wide angle lens and this is your photo, it’s going to be difficult to do anything with these photos. 

Mistake 6: Watch Your ISO

ISO was too high. While there are various reasons to raise your ISO, there is no reason to shoot with an ISO of 12,800 or even close to it. Remember, noise is not an issue in bright areas of your photos for the most part. Noise is most prevalent in dark shadowy areas and if the bulk of your photo is black sky or dark shadows, high ISOs will ruin the shot (I don’t care how much noise reduction you do). 

Mistake 7: Don’t Change Focal Length Halfway Through

If you’re shooting a composite, don’t move the camera and don’t zoom in or out during the key photos. Your camera placement and focal length needs to be dialed in before the event happens. If you’re not sure, then practice ahead of time best as you can. 

Already Shot the Eclipse Before?

If you already shot the eclipse once successfully, try not to shoot the same exact thing again. Now, I realize many of you tried back in 2017 and didn’t get good photos. By all means, go for it again. But if you took good photos back in 2017 that look like every other eclipse photo out there, maybe try to shoot something different this time so you don’t end up with the same exact photo again. 


Include something else. I have to tell ya’…. For me eclipses are extremely boring photos. They’ve indeed very technically interesting. But it’s the one situation that we can all tell you what your photo will look like before you’ve even taken it – just like everyone else’s. So when you scroll through social media you see the same photo over and over again.

I don’t say that to be negative – it’s just the truth. But if you’ve never done it before, of course it’s fun to go out and give it a try. Just because your photo looks like everyone else’s, doesn’t mean that it wasn’t an enjoyable experience. And the photo is YOURS which is important to a lot of us. So I totally understand the process.

But I do like it when people include something else to show some of the environment in the photo. It takes time to seek out the right location and to figure out where the sun will be, but it could be worth it. And this goes back to the previous tip… if you’ve already photographed the normal photo that everyone else will, maybe try to do something else this time.

Final Thoughts

I hope this helped out and maybe gave you some last minute things to think about while photographing the eclipse. As I mentioned earlier, keep your eyes and camera safe (in that order please). And have fun with it. Of course it’s great to nail a great photo of the eclipse, but at the same time try to practice enough ahead of time so that you can also soak it in and enjoy the experience. Take care!

NOTE: Don’t forget to check out my editing video too (Click Here)


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