How to Shoot the Solar Eclipse

Total Eclipse of the Sun Composite (2006 Libya)

The most spectacular sight the universe has to offer is coming to a sky near you this summer. 

On August 21 the Moon will eclipse the Sun, totally!, along a path that crosses the continental USA from coast to coast. All the details of where to go are at the excellent website

If this will be your first total solar eclipse, you might want to just watch it. But many will want to photograph or video it. It can be easy to do, or it can be very complex, for those who are after ambitious composites and time-lapses.

To tell you how to shoot the eclipse, with all types of cameras, from cell phones to DSLRs, with all types of techniques, from simple to advanced, I’ve prepared a comprehensive ebook, How to Photograph the Solar Eclipse.


It is 295 pages of sage advice, gathered over 38 years of shooting 15 total solar eclipses around the world.

The book is filled with illustrations designed specifically for the 2017 eclipse – where the Sun will be, how to frame the scene, what will be in the sky, how the shadow will move, where the diamond rings will be, what lenses to use, etc.

Here are a few sample pages:


I cover shooting with everything from wide-angle cameras for the entire scene, to close-ups with long telephotos and telescopes, both on tripods and on tracking mounts.


I cover all the details on exposures and camera settings, and on focusing and ensuring the sharpest images. Most bad eclipse pix are ruined not by poor exposure but poor focus and blurry images – the Sun is moving!


A big chapter covers processing of eclipse images, again, from simple images to complex stacks and composites.

Total Solar Eclipse C3 Diamond Ring and Totality (2012 Australia

For example, I show how to produce a shot like this, from 2012, combining a short diamond ring image with a long-exposure image of the corona.


A final chapter covers “what can go wrong!” and how to avoid the common mistakes.

For details on the ebook content, see my webpage for the book at 

The ebook is available on the Apple iBooks Store for Mac and iOS devices. This version has the best interactivity (zoomable images), higher quality images (less compression), and easiest content navigation.

However, for non-Apple people and devices, the ebook can also be purchased directly from my website as a downloadable PDF, which has embedded hyperlinks to external sites.

I think you’ll find the ebook to be the most comprehensive guide to shooting solar eclipses you’ll find. It is up to date (as of last week!) and covers all the techniques for the digital age.

Many thanks, and clear skies on August 21, wherever you may be in the shadow of the Moon!

— Alan, February 28, 2017 / © 2017 Alan Dyer /


10 Replies to “How to Shoot the Solar Eclipse”

  1. Alan,
    I love your Eclipse e-book! Thank you. It is amazing.

    I do have one question. I have a 600mm focal length and full frame camera. I want to frame Regulus in my image.
    Some have suggested not orienting the camera level with the ground, but to along the ecliptic to catch longer parts of the corona.
    I don’t want to make things more complicated though. It certainly is easy enough to level the camera with the ground.
    What do you think?

    1. Hi – if you orient the camera so the ecliptic runs from one corner to the other diagonally then you’ll get the most corona as it is likely to be elongated along the ecliptic. Maybe! You’d also get Regulus. I think that framing might be more attractive than having the ecliptic and corona oriented horizontally. But both will work well. Clear skies!

      1. As I said, the corona will be elongated along the ecliptic. And planetarium software program such as I used to create the illustrations in my book will show you where the ecliptic and sun are for your location at eclipse time.

    1. It’s all in my ebook. Filters from Kendrick, Thousand Oaks, or Seymour will work well. Be sure to get the right size for your lens. A little bigger is better than too small. Clear skies!

  2. Alan, is there an option to get both the Apple and PDF versions as one purchase? My tablet is Android and is where I’d be reading the book when traveling but at home I have a Macbook Pro, too. Or would I just need to purchase each separately?

    1. Hi Nathan — Sorry but there are no “two-for” deals! The PDF will be perfectly usable on the desktop as well. The iBooks version has zoomable images, and better navigation of contents. But I find those are features best for a tablet anyway. But in this case it would have to be an iPad to make use of those features. Try the PDF first and see how you like it on both devices. — Alan

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