Thursday, September 8, 2011


 Never – Never, look directly into the sun it will damage your eyes

1. Check your white balance. The first thing I do is check my white balance setting as my first option, because auto white balance, the default setting of digital cameras, is one of the worst offenders for making sunrises and sunsets look less than their best. Auto white balance is designed to automatically make colours look more or less neutral, which is exactly what we don’t want with a sunrise or sunset. We want a fantastic shot! Try setting your camera to a daylight balance such as “sunny” or “cloudy” to get better colours at these times.

2. Look for clouds. Blank skies will often give less interesting sunrises or sunsets because there is nothing for the light from the rising or setting sun to illuminate. If clouds block the eastern (sunrise) or western (sunset) horizons, you might get nothing. But if clouds are breaking, especially along the right horizon, you may be rewarded with stunning colour and light.

3. Watch your horizon. People get so excited about the sunrise or sunset that they put the horizon in the middle of the photo. The problem with that is that the ground is usually so dark that it is just black, so you end up with a photo that is half black. Use your whole sensor and capture more of that glorious sky. Put the horizon near the bottom of your photo or don’t include it at all and just show off the great sky. Check your LCD playback to be sure.

4. Photograph before and during the sunrise or sunset. The light and colour will keep changing with a sunrise or sunset, and you cannot predict this, so hang around and enjoy the changes as you take pictures throughout the sunrise or sunset. You never know when the best shots will occur.

5. Keep your camera out and keep shooting after the sun has set. Photographers often pack up and go home when the sun drops below the horizon, yet there are stunning colours and images to be had after sunset. You will need a tripod because shutter speeds will get slow, but start looking at the scene all around you, not just the place of the sunset. Be patient because the light often looks poor for about the first 10 minutes after sunset. After that, if you have an open view to the western sky, you will often find some amazing light illuminating the scene around you. This doesn’t happen every time and you can get some dud lighting, but when it occurs, it is well worth waiting for.

6. Put on the telephoto or zoom in for a telephoto view. Zoom in all the way or use your strongest telephoto lens and start looking around the sunrise or sunset along the horizon. (Do not stare into the sun through your camera, as this can damage your eyes). Use Live View with your camera, however, and stare at the sun on your LCD. You will often find amazing colour and tonalities.

7. Put on your widest-angle lens or zoom out for a wide-angle view, then tilt up to shoot the sky. Wide-angle shots that have the sunrise or sunset at the bottom of the image and big sweeps of colourful sky above it can make for very dramatic images. Be sure to emphasize the sky by shooting upward—you don’t need much ground in the photo for this shot.

Use a wide angle lens
Think about foreground, middle ground and background
 Don't be afraid to get low
Think of different perspectives
 Shoot at the lowest ISO possible
 Use a tripod
 Use Apertures between f8 and f22 or the smallest aperture available
 Shutter Speed will vary depending on "proper exposure"
 Use shutter longer then 1/2 sec to smooth out water if included in your shot
Use a graduated neutral density filter (if available)
Learn how to meter correctly (either decide to properly expose the foreground/ground vs. the sky and sun


  1. I love taking sunset photos! I'm not usually awake enough for sunrises. lol

  2. I aim to do most of my early morning shoots on a weekend.
    If you can get up into the hills or down by the seaside these locations tend to offer better choices for you to photograph your sunrise/sunsets. An example is the Noosa area I photograph there quite often.

  3. Can't wait to try some of your ideas thanks so much for all your advice I love learning new ways to photograph.

    Always Wendy

  4. Thanks Wendy,I too learn something everytime I go out to shoot.