Good morning! Have you rolled over, hit the snooze button a few times but are still reluctant to pull yourself out of bed and now you’ve probably already started scrolling through Instagram. Some mornings do you notice there was an epic sunrise that you slept through but a few of your friends or a photographer you’re totally obsessed with managed to capture the morning light beautifully?! If you’ve ever wondered how to shoot the sunrise here are some quick tips for shooting sunrise photos.
First things first, 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!
Capturing the sunrise it’s pretty obvious to say the sky would be your subject but not entirely true. Look all around you and see what’s going to make a great silhouette. Maybe it’s a vast mountain range, the 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 #1: 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!
Now that you have figured out what your subject is going to be and where to place your horizon line; here’s some technical information on how to shoot the sunrise! Once the sun has started to rise, it’s going to happen pretty quickly. For the sake of not sounding too oblivious, 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. Bringing 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: 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!
I hope these few tips on how to shoot the sunrise inspire you to maybe skip the snooze button and get outside to capture the sunrise. Grab a cup of coffee and your camera kit and take in the beauty of the early morning. Have a tip you don’t see here? Share below in the comments!
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