Photo of the Day

Eye-Catching Eclipse Photos and Portraits of the Week for April 22

April 22, 2024

By Hillary Grigonis

The total solar eclipse on April 8 inspired even novices to point a lens towards the sky. Eventually, social feeds filled with eclipse photos that all started to look similar. But, some solar eclipse photos stood out from all the rest. These four wedding and portrait photographers captured the eclipse in stunning, unique ways. Find inspiration from these unique solar eclipse photos by Lindsey Thorne, Megan Kelly, Luke Payne, and Jason Vinson.

Lindsey Thorne, Lindsey Thorne Photo

© Lindsey Thorne Photo

In much of the U.S., the eclipse took place when the sun was at its highest point in the sky. That made incorporating the sun with people standing on the ground a logistical challenge. Lindsey Thorne of Lindsey Thorne Photo solved the problem in a unique way: a double exposure. Thorne explains that this couple planned their wedding ceremony for totality. Together with her second shooter, Caroline Robert, the photographers decided to create a double exposure with the eclipse and the couple.

Thorne explains that because Robert was there to photograph the ceremony, she was able to focus her attention on the sky, capturing the eclipse with the Canon RF 100-500mm f4.5-7.1 L IS USM on the Canon R6 and a Tiffen solar ND filter. The second exposure was taken after the ceremony with the RF 50mm f1.2 L lens in a spot outside the venue with a lot of open sky to create a silhouette. Thorne captured the double exposure in-camera.

“The biggest challenge I faced was deciding when to put the camera on the tripod,” Thorne explains. “I could easily photograph the stages while hand holding the camera. And because of the heavy cloud coverage, it was easier to find the sun that way, especially because the camera needed to face directly overhead.

“Then, there were a few quiet moments before totality and my inner voice said ‘Now! Mount the camera now!’ I had just enough visibility to mount the camera, remove the filter and find the sun on the LED screen before everything went dark. I knew totality was happening but couldn’t see anything on the back of my camera for at least 30 seconds, and I was clutching the wedding planner’s arm whispering ‘Please show up, please show up.’

“All of a sudden, it peaked out of the clouds, which were moving so rapidly it almost looked like smoke, and I had at least a full 60 seconds of visibility. The ceremony was still going on, so I couldn’t scream but I did start jumping up and down with the wedding planner. This couple hired me over a year and a half earlier, and the amount of planning that went into this event was instantly all worth it. I got the shot.”

Megan Kelly, The Light Seeker

© The Light Seeker

Megan Kelly of The Light Seeker drove 22 hours one way through nine states after researching the best spots to view the eclipse, so that she could capture self portrait eclipse photos with her family. At the Petit Jean State Park, Arkansas, Kelly and her family had a 180 degree view of the event, including watching the shadow cross on the cliffs below. She captured the shot with the Canon R5, a 24-70mm lens, a tripod and a remote trigger.

“The next solar eclipse that will be easy to get to is 20 years away,” Kelly says. “This would be the only eclipse that I could see and enjoy with my young children while they are living with me, to show them the incredible parts of the earth and that adventures are worth having! Something I never really got to do as a kid.”

Luke Payne, Luke Payne Photography

© Luke Payne Photography

This couple’s eclipse ceremony featured quotes by Carl Sagan and Ronald Reagan on what a first contact scenario with extraterrestrial life would be like, explained Luke Payne of Luke Payne Photography. That inspired the photographer to try to capture a sense of otherworldly awe as the eclipse occurred during the ceremony. He took the shot with the Canon R5 and the RF 28-70mm f2 lens.

“The main challenge with this image was the difference in brightness between the eclipse and the wedding ceremony, but I was able to slightly overexpose the eclipse and underexpose the ceremony and use masks to balance everything out,” Payne explains. “The eclipse was also much higher in the sky originally, so I cropped in and moved the eclipse down in Photoshop to make the image more visually impactful.” 

Jason Vinson, Vinson Images

© Vinson Images

While totality can be photographed without a filter, capturing the partial eclipse with a telephoto lens requires protective gear. Jason Vinson of Vinson Images decided to travel to an area of totality last minute, and the only protective gear he had was a cardboard binocular filter that came with his eclipse glasses. The inexpensive filter created some artifacts however, which Vinson decided to use to his advantage. He captured this shot using that filter and the Sony a7cR and the 70-200mm GM II lens.

“My trip to an area of totality was just really last minute, and I didn’t have all the proper gear and filters,” he explains. “So, what I had left me with some normally unwanted artifacts. Instead of trying to minimize this, I leaned into the imperfect.” 

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