How To Achieve a Great Sunrise Photo

Getting the perfect sunrise photo requires a lot more than just getting up early. Determining the right exposure by using the correct ISO setting, aperture and shutter speed can be quite tricky. During sunrise, the light can change rapidly. So, it's crucial to be able to capture that one window where the sky is a burst of subdued hues. To be able to capture a great sunrise photo, here are a few tips that might help you along the way.

Step 1: Plan It

A little planning goes a long way. First and foremost, wherever you are, you have to know where the sun rises. Find out from the early risers where it's best to take photographs of the sunrise. Know how you want to capture it. Do you want to capture a silhouette with the sunrise as background? Do you merely want to capture the different hues on the morning sky? Knowing what you want to photograph can help you find that perfect spot to set up your equipment before you click your shutter.

Step 2: Pack It Right

Before you head off to your spot, make sure you have all the equipment you need. Don't forget to pack your tripod. It is one of the most crucial things that can help create a great sunrise photo. Know which lens you will carry with you. A wide lens is most suitable if you plan to capture a landscape. Maybe you want to take some filters with you or lens effects such as starburst. If you have a quick release or a shutter cable, that's also something that you will surely want to bring.

Step 3: Set Up

Once you get to your sunrise spot, set up your equipment and camera right away. Sunrise can sometimes happen fairly quickly, too quickly for you to tinker around with your camera. The light and the colors change so rapidly, that you wouldn't want to miss a moment. It is recommended to set your ISO to ISO 100 or 200. This will avoid undesired overexposure, and it will keep your images sharp. You may want to manually set your White Balance to Shade or Cloudy. Use a narrow depth of field, and adjust your aperture setting to f/11 or higher to ensure sharp focus all throughout. Choose a slow shutter speed. Light of dawn is very diffused, so you need more time to capture more light. Some photographers would advise setting it to 10 to 20 seconds or longer.

Step 4: Improvise

This is important for any artist, so it's also important for photographers to imbibe this. Especially with such a tricky and dynamic subject as the sunrise, it's important to be equally dynamic as well. Look around your spot and find interesting subjects that you can capture. Maybe there's a seagull that you can use as foreground, or a passing sailboat that will make your shot more interesting. If there's a moving body of water, you might want to lengthen your shutter to a full minute or more to capture a misty effect. Take many shots and bracket your exposure. This will ensure that you go home with a dazzling sunrise photo that's worth framing and keeping.

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