The Keys To Perfect Sunrise & Sunset Shots
There’s nothing quite like a beautiful sunrise or sunset. Not only is it peaceful, but the sky often takes on brilliant colors, making the entire scene something to behold. For photographers, capturing the perfect sunrise or sunset is a worthy goal, but it is often a tricky one, as the lighting during this time makes capturing the scene a little difficult. If you want to capture the perfect picture the next time you are watching the sunrise or fall, use the following advice.
Choose A Good Location
One of the most important aspects of any sunrise or sunset picture is where you take it from. It would be great if we could just walk outside our homes and snap a picture, but you likely have some other homes or landscape features blocking the view. For a truly great picture, you need to choose the right spot. This could be up high – like on a mountain, in a plane, or on top of a skyscraper – or at someplace elsewhere you can see a far distance unobstructed – like the ocean. Choose a spot where not only will you be able to see the sun near the horizon, but the surrounding area is pleasant to look at.
Prepare In Advance
If you want a great photo of the sun rising or setting, you likely won’t be able to just pull out your camera on the spot and snap away. You need to prepare in advance if you want a picture that stands out from the rest. Take some time to scout out your location, to determine where the sun will be at certain times, and to get your gear ready. Your surroundings will change quickly during this time, so you want to be ready when the moment arrives. The key to doing all of this is getting there early, so give yourself plenty of time to get everything ready.
Having The Right Equipment
It’s entirely possible to take a good picture of a sunrise or sunset with your smartphone camera. But if you want to elevate your photography, you likely need something more serious. You’ll want a camera with a large enough sensor to be able to work in low-light situations and one that lets you easily control the exposure and aperture. Also consider getting a wide-angle lens, as these are great for landscape photography.
In addition to a great camera, you will also likely need a solid tripod, so that you don’t want to worry about camera shake. Finally, a remote shutter for your camera will also help, as will an ND filter, a polarizing filter, and maybe a lens hood.
Applying The Right Settings
Now with your equipment in place, you need to choose the right settings. What you choose will depend on your surroundings, and what type of picture you are trying to get. Broadly speaking, you may need to have a long exposure in order to let in more light and to raise the ISO as well. As the lighting around you changes, be prepared to adjust your settings in order to compensate. Finally, you’ll likely want an F-stop of f/11 or higher in order to get a greater depth of field (unless you’re focusing on a subject in the foreground, with the sunrise/sunset blurred in the background).
Practice Makes Perfect
On your first venture out to capture a sunrise or sunset, you might not end up with that perfect photo you’re after. Maybe some clouds get in the way, or you’re not using quite the right camera settings. Luckily, there’s always another opportunity to try again. The more sunsets and sunrises you try to capture, the better you’ll get at it. Play around with different settings each time, get yourself some good equipment, and always give yourself enough time. If you can do this, it won’t be long before you take a perfect shot of a beautiful sunrise or sunset.