Have you ever rolled over, hit the snooze button a few times, started scrolling through Instagram only to notice an epic sunrise that you slept through but a friend or a stranger you admire managed to capture the morning light beautifully? If you’ve ever thought about venturing out before dawn to experience the sunrise and wondered about the best way to photograph it, I’m going to share a few tips and tricks to getting a beautiful photo!
Quick tip #1: Once the sun has started to rise, it’s going to happen pretty quickly. For the sake of not sounding too obvious, when you are setting up for the first shot it’s going to be dark and you wont be able to shoot with a fast shutter speed. Brining a tripod with you is going to allow you to shoot a longer shutter speed and now worry about camera shake. To further prevent camera shake, try using a remote shutter release. This way you’ll never have to touch the camera during the exposure! New cameras have come a long way when it comes to the ISO but it’s still true; the higher you turn your ISO the more visible the grain will be. To avoid this, stay at a lower ISO (if you’re on a tripod) and adjust your exposure accordingly.
Quick tip #2: When capturing the sunrise it is pretty obvious to say the sky is your subject but that’s not entirely true. Look around and see what else is going to make a great silhouette. It could be a vast mountain range, a peaceful lake or stream or even the strip mall around the corner. Whatever your subject may be, don’t forget to let it tell a story!
Quick tip #3: Look for reflections! If you’re in a city, catching the reflection off a mirrored building or a puddle after a rainstorm will add an extra element!
Quick tip #4 Keep the Rule of Thirds in mind. For a quick refresher; your image area is broken up into 9 squares. Unless you’re Wes Anderson you typically don’t want to center your image perfectly in the frame because your eye wont move around to everything else in the frame. When you’re setting up your sunrise shot, pay attention to where the horizon line is placed. Centering it may seem like a good idea but try moving your camera so the horizon falls in the top or bottom third of the frame. This is going to allow your viewers eye to move around and take in the details of the final product!
Quick tip #5: To save yourself a little postproduction work, try shooting with a filter to saturate the colors! Shooting with a ND or polarizer will help really bring out those colors!
For a few more tips, check out the BTS of our sunrise shoot. I hope these tips on how to shoot the sunrise inspire you to maybe skip the snooze button, grab a cup of coffee and your camera kit and get outside and take in the beauty of the early morning light.
Have a tip you don’t see here? Share in the comments below.