Here’s everything you need to know before you ‘gram.

By Blake Bakkila
Updated August 18, 2017
Total Eclipse
Credit: DAVID NUNUK/Getty Images

The highly-anticipated total solar eclipse on Monday, August 21 is probably an event you want to commemorate. But before you grab your iPhone or digital camera, you’ll need to take a few necessary precautions.

If you’re in the “path of totality”—a 70-mile wide stretch extending from Oregon to South Carolina—it’s important to keep both your eyes and cameras safe. Even if you are outside the path of totality and will only see a partial eclipse, NASA recommends that you purchase special eye protection.

For those directly in the eclipse’s path, you’ll need to purchase a solar filter to reduce the brightness of the sun, which also has the power to destroy your camera, according to NASA. The only time you do not need this filter is if you take a photo of the moment of totality, or when the entirety of the sun is blocked.

Place a solar filter on your phone’s camera lens or over the front of your telescope if you’re planning on snapping a picture through the lens, the American Astronomical Society advises on its website.

Taking pictures of the eclipse may be difficult on a smartphone, so ensure that you have the HDR feature on, if possible. The AAS also encourages the use of a tripod for a more clear image. Recording videos might be even more effective when capturing the moment.

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And aside from protecting your equipment, you’ll also need to make sure you’re protecting your own eyes from the eclipse. The AAS has a list of protective glasses and filters that meet international safety standards and have been verified by an accredited testing laboratory.