Sunrise and Sunset Shooting Tips

Sunrise and Sunset Shooting Tips

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Image Courtesy: Jassi Oberai

Sunrise and Sunsets are usually considered to be the best times to create landscape images. You get to capture the most intense colors and beautiful sky during Sunrise and Sunset. Let me share how can you get the most of this special time and create stunning images. 



This is probably the most crucial step. Most photographers fail to create stunning Sunrise and Sunset images because they fail to prepare. It important to know:

  • Direction in which Sun will rise or Set
  • How will be the weather?
  • What will be cloud cover?

Getting answers to above questions is important. Clouds if scattered get that intense orange color during Sunrise and Sunset and if you get a sky devoid of clouds you may come back disappointed. And am sure you do not want to get into rainy weather as well. 


While it may look easy to shoot this light, a simple check list will help you stay in complete control during your actual shoot.

  • Shoot in RAW to ensure you utilize the full dynamic range of your camera
  • Learn the rules of composition because this will make an image stand out
  • When shooting into the Sun you may encounter exposure issues. So check if you can manage with a single image or you want to exposure bracket your images. 

I will strongly recommend you exposure bracket your shots to get the best out of your RAW data. Also do not forget to shoot using a tripod and/or a Neutral Density Filter

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Image Courtesy: Jassi Oberai


Shooting Angle

You can try both low angle and high angle shots. Low angles go very well with images where you have rivers, lakes or waterfalls and high angle shots work well with mountains. I suggest you experiment with different angles and shooting positions. This will not only help you choose your best shot later on but will also be a great learning process. 

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Image Courtesy: Jassi Oberai


Focal Point

This is the key to a great image. Focal Point is where you want the viewer to look at in your image. Ensure that:

  • It is sharp
  • It is brighter than rest of the frame
  • Resort to focus stacking if you have to
  • Create visual pathway leading the eyes to your focal point

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Image Courtesy: Jassi Oberai


Post Processing

This is another critical step. Most Sunrise and Sunset images are high in contrast. Sometimes shadows are darker than you want and highlights are stronger. Doing selective post processing will help you take control. Open shadows if you have to. Tone down highlights if required. Maintain balance and harmony between highlights and shadows. 

Shooting Sunrise and Sunsets can be challenging but lot of fun as well. Prepare well, stay in control while shooting and learn the art of post processing and we are sure you will have some wonderful images to share.


Sumit 11 months ago
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