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5 tips for shooting a beautiful sunrise

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Tips from Digital Photographer, by Mark White
February 16, 2016

Capture the perfect shot by following these simple tricks


Watching the Sun rise is one of the benefits of getting yourself out of bed early and capturing it perfectly makes it all the more worthwhile. You don’t need clear skies either, as clouds can make for more dramatic and interesting sunrise images. Just follow our easy steps.

Set up early

Scout your location in the daylight so you know the best spot to visit, then get to your shoot half an hour before sunrise. This gives you time to set up and capture the sun illuminating the sky before it arrives.

Find interest

Sometimes, a beautiful sunrise just isn’t enough. Incorporating a silhouette into the foreground can add depth and context to the photograph. Scan your surroundings – trees, boats or people work really well

Steady your kit

In order to capture the gorgeous sky at the crack of dawn, your shutter speed will need to be slow enough to let in the right amount of light. With this in mind, be sure to use a tripod to stop camera shake.

Use the rules

Use the rule of thirds to help create a stunning dawn image. If the foreground is your focal point, place the horizon in the upper third, if the sky is the focal point, place it in the lower third.

Set a scene mode

Many cameras will come with a sunrise or sunset scene mode. If you’re not confident at choosing your own manual camera settings, dial in one of these modes and let the camera do the work for you.

For more photography tips, tricks and techniques, head over to our sister magazine, Digital Photographer! You can also find the team posting on their Facebook and Twitter pages.