HOW TO PHOTOGRAPH SPECTACULAR SUNRISES AND SUNSETS

In today’s article I would like to discuss a very recurring theme among photography enthusiasts such as sunrise and sunset . They are two “very photogenic” moments of the day which we have all tried to capture sometime.
If you like to photograph the sunrise or sunset and do not get the results you are looking for, in today’s article I will try to summarize the most important points you have to take care of when trying to produce this type of photographs. Remember, what turns a normal photo into a wonderful work of art are simple and small details that we sometimes don’t pay attention to.

Let’s do it then.

PLAN YOUR SESSION

Although sometimes chance and chance can produce magnificent photos of sunrises and sunsets, the truth is that if you want to be sure of getting good results you need to plan the session in advance. The most interesting moment in a sunrise or sunset lasts just a few minutes, it is a valuable and short moment that should not be wasted. My advice is to find a good place to shoot a day or two in advance. Do not limit yourself to simply looking for a good angle from which to shoot, which also, but make it allow you to include interesting foreground elements such as a tree, silhouettes, etc.

Sunrise in Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu, India

It is also advisable to observe what time the sun usually rises or sets , since you will be interested in going to the place a while earlier.
And what about time? Meteorology is another very important aspect to keep in mind: photographing a clear sunrise is not the same as cloudy. Each one has its charm but you should know what time is waiting for you the next day, so you are ready to take the picture exactly as you imagined it.
Planning also involves preparing the material and leaving everything ready: backpack, lenses, well-recharged battery, formatted memory cards, etc.

MATERIAL

At sunrise or sunset you have to go prepared, but really. You need at least:

  • A reflex camera and several objectives, at least two.
  • Tripod , essential: the relative absence of light makes the camera require, sometimes, long exposure times. To avoid blurring the photo, you should stabilize the camera before.
  • Remote shutter: For the same reason if you can shoot without touching the camera body it would be better. I use a remote trigger but you can also use the delayed shutter function of your camera, for 2 or 10 seconds.

COMPOSITION

Dawn

Remember to apply the rule of thirds (link). Being a type of landscape photography, this rule of composition is of (almost) mandatory compliance.

Regarding the framing, please try not to fall into the mistake that many make and is to photograph sunrises or sunsets completely boring. All that spectacular landscape that nature has prepared us needs some remarkable element that breaks the monotony and gives it more life, more interest at sunrise or sunset. As I said before this element can be a tree, a palm tree, some rocks or the silhouette of a couple in love with each other.

As for objectives , I personally like to shoot the sunrise and sunset with small focal length targets, something like that between 14 and 25mm, so I can capture the landscape in all its breadth.
However, in order to have some freedom, I recommend having more objectives of more than one focal distance on hand: this way you can capture panoramic landscapes while zooming in where the sun acquires greater prominence.

EXPOSITION

With the theme of the exhibition you have to be careful. Precisely the charm of a sunrise or sunset consists of that light that emanates from the sun and towards which we aim directly. We already know that our camera in automatic mode tends to be wrong when we focus on direct light, which results in generally underexposed (dark) photos.
If you are going to photograph a sunrise or sunset use the manual or semi-manual mode of your SLR camera , you can play with the aperture and the shooting speed and get different results each time, with different degrees of light. (If the manual mode still scares you, take a look at my photo initiation book ).

In today’s article I would like to discuss a very recurring theme among photography enthusiasts such as sunrise and sunset . They are two “very photogenic” moments of the day which we have all tried to capture sometime.
If you like to photograph the sunrise or sunset and do not get the results you are looking for, in today’s article I will try to summarize the most important points you have to take care of when trying to produce this type of photographs. Remember, what turns a normal photo into a wonderful work of art are simple and small details that we sometimes don’t pay attention to.

Let’s do it then.

PLAN YOUR SESSION

Although sometimes chance and chance can produce magnificent photos of sunrises and sunsets, the truth is that if you want to be sure of getting good results you need to plan the session in advance. The most interesting moment in a sunrise or sunset lasts just a few minutes, it is a valuable and short moment that should not be wasted. My advice is to find a good place to shoot a day or two in advance. Do not limit yourself to simply looking for a good angle from which to shoot, which also, but make it allow you to include interesting foreground elements such as a tree, silhouettes, etc.

Sunrise in Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu, India

It is also advisable to observe what time the sun usually rises or sets , since you will be interested in going to the place a while earlier.
And what about time? Meteorology is another very important aspect to keep in mind: photographing a clear sunrise is not the same as cloudy. Each one has its charm but you should know what time is waiting for you the next day, so you are ready to take the picture exactly as you imagined it.
Planning also involves preparing the material and leaving everything ready: backpack, lenses, well-recharged battery, formatted memory cards, etc.

MATERIAL

At sunrise or sunset you have to go prepared, but really. You need at least:

  • A reflex camera and several objectives, at least two.
  • Tripod , essential: the relative absence of light makes the camera require, sometimes, long exposure times. To avoid blurring the photo, you should stabilize the camera before.
  • Remote shutter: For the same reason if you can shoot without touching the camera body it would be better. I use a remote trigger but you can also use the delayed shutter function of your camera, for 2 or 10 seconds.

COMPOSITION

Remember to apply the rule of thirds (link). Being a type of landscape photography, this rule of composition is of (almost) mandatory compliance.

Regarding the framing, please try not to fall into the mistake that many make and is to photograph sunrises or sunsets completely boring. All that spectacular landscape that nature has prepared us needs some remarkable element that breaks the monotony and gives it more life, more interest at sunrise or sunset. As I said before this element can be a tree, a palm tree, some rocks or the silhouette of a couple in love with each other.

As for objectives , I personally like to shoot the sunrise and sunset with small focal length targets, something like that between 14 and 25mm, so I can capture the landscape in all its breadth.
However, in order to have some freedom, I recommend having more objectives of more than one focal distance on hand: this way you can capture panoramic landscapes while zooming in where the sun acquires greater prominence.

EXPOSITION

With the theme of the exhibition you have to be careful. Precisely the charm of a sunrise or sunset consists of that light that emanates from the sun and towards which we aim directly. We already know that our camera in automatic mode tends to be wrong when we focus on direct light, which results in generally underexposed (dark) photos.
If you are going to photograph a sunrise or sunset use the manual or semi-manual mode of your SLR camera , you can play with the aperture and the shooting speed and get different results each time, with different degrees of light. (If the manual mode still scares you, take a look at my photo initiation book ).

Boby

You also have to be careful about white balance. Although most of the time leaving the camera in the automatic White Balance, very correct photographs are obtained, it happens that sunrises and sunsets have a warmth of color (pulling yellow / orange) without which the photo would lose its charm. An automatic White Balance would detect that “warm” tone as excess and try to change it to a more neutral color, something we don’t really want. Solution: Change the White Balance setting and choose one that keeps the warm tone of the moment, cloudy or shadow for example. ( More on the white balance here ).

ADD YOUR SIGNATURE ..

Do not produce another cold, impersonal and anonymous photo of a sunrise or sunset please. Take a different photo, convert that sunrise or sunset into a personal moment leaving some subtle clue of yours in the photo: it can be a doll that you have affection for, your child’s toy car, the silhouette of your Boby dog ​​posing in Close-up, or just shoot the photo from the window of your attic thus portraying what you see every day when you wake up in the morning.

Have you enjoyed this article? Please help me spread it by giving you a recommendation on Facebook, Twitter or Google+. I will be infinitely grateful.

You also have to be careful about white balance. Although most of the time leaving the camera in the automatic White Balance, very correct photographs are obtained, it happens that sunrises and sunsets have a warmth of color (pulling yellow / orange) without which the photo would lose its charm. An automatic White Balance would detect that “warm” tone as excess and try to change it to a more neutral color, something we don’t really want. Solution: Change the White Balance setting and choose one that keeps the warm tone of the moment, cloudy or shadow for example. ( More on the white balance here ).

ADD YOUR SIGNATURE ..

Do not produce another cold, impersonal and anonymous photo of a sunrise or sunset please. Take a different photo, convert that sunrise or sunset into a personal moment leaving some subtle clue of yours in the photo: it can be a doll that you have affection for, your child’s toy car, the silhouette of your Boby dog ​​posing in Close-up, or just shoot the photo from the window of your attic thus portraying what you see every day when you wake up in the morning.

Have you enjoyed this article? Please help me spread it by giving you a recommendation on Facebook, Twitter or Google+. I will be infinitely grateful.


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