How to take better sunrise + sunset photos

Here are 6 tips you can use to help make your sunrise or sunset shots better.

 

1. Investigate The Weather Forecast

Look ahead and see what the weather forecast will be but don't be discouraged if you see a cloudy sunrise or sunset. Some of my best shots have come when the sun peeks out between the clouds just momentarily, so be patient and wait for it. We have also found that some of our best sunrise and sunset shots occur in the winter months as the colors seem to be more vibrant.

 

2. Check Out Locations

It pays to do a little research ahead of time. Go for a drive or walk and have a look for possible foregrounds you think would look best with your sunrise or sunset shot. I carry my bike around on the back of my SUV which allows me to explore places not accessible by car. Keep in mind though that since the sun rises in the east you need to make sure that the foreground you want is in the east.

 

3. Bring a Tripod

Any tripod is better than no tripod. I carry a desktop tripod around with me in my camera case, just in case I need to steady the camera and I don't have a full tripod. I have also now invested in a travel tripod which a carry around in my trunk. Since a sunrise or sunset shot has very minimal light you’ll need to use a long exposure, and if you want a clear picture you need a tripod.

 

4. Use A Remote Shutter Release

If you want sharp pictures, this is a very important tip. What’s the point of having a good tripod if you are going to shake the camera when your pressing the shutter button? If you don’t have a remote shutter release, you can use your self timer set to a 2 second delay.

 

5.  Don’t Stop Shooting

Shoot until you think your done, then shoot more. Some of the best shots I've taken have come as a result of shooting just a few more frames from a different position or angle. You can get great results shooting the sunrise just before the sun appears or shooting the sunset after the sun has set. If the sun is rising and clouds are present, keep waiting for the special moment when the sun appears between the clouds. 

 

6. Experiment

I take many shots and love to under expose sunset or sunrise shots to show off the sky’s beautiful color. It makes them look more dramatic. Experiment with different exposures as you will get a lot of different results. If you want to show off some foreground, you can force your flash to fire and 1/2 the exposure. It will act as a fill flash to your foreground. 

Have fun shooting !

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