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7 tips for photographing a sunrise


of a sunrise

There’s nothing quite as beautiful as a sunrise or sunset if you ask us. Watching and photographing a sunrise at a beautiful location is therefore one of our favorite and regular activities on holiday. There is, of course, a lot to consider when photographing a sunrise. And we are happy to discuss that here so that you can capture that beautiful moment on image.

1 Explore the location

It is always good to explore the location the day before. This way you already know from which angle you can best take a photo. Because looking for a place in the dark is not always easy. Finding the right parking for your location is also not a bad plan. You don’t want to miss the sunrise because you won’t find parking on location. Don’t have time to study the location? Then you can always look on Instagram and see how other photographers have tackled this. Knowing the location is arguably the most important step when shooting a sunrise.

2 Be mindful of the weather

Taking the weather into account is also a very important factor where we sometimes go wrong. For example, we got up early in Cape Town to photograph a sunrise on the coast. And on arrival there turned out to be a huge fog bank where you couldn’t see more than a few meters in depth. Something we could have known had we researched this beforehand. Don’t always rely on the weather forecast from Google, but ask the locals about the weather. Because this is usually more correct. After all, they know the climate like no other. A cloudy day is in many cases better for the photo. The colors reflect on the clouds and you are less bothered by bright and disturbing light.

3 Being on time

Being on time is of course essential when photographing a sunrise. So you have to have something to do with it. In Italy , for example, we got up at 3 in the morning to travel to Saturnia to take pictures at sunrise. Something that gives you satisfaction afterwards when you see the photos. We use the Sun Surveyor application to find out the correct sunrise time. In addition to the correct time, this application, which is paid, also gives you the place where the sun rises and sets. You can actually follow where the sun sets for a whole day. Very useful and one of our favorite photography apps.

Photographing a sunrise
Fotografie tips

4 Correct material

It is of course also very important to bring the right material! Because due to the low shutter speed, which is best used, a tripod with shutter release is essential, for example. Knowing your camera’s settings through and through also helps when shooting creatively. For example, do you use a slow shutter speed with water? Then you get a nice dynamic and soft image with lots of color. Something we are huge fans of. Also, never use a flash at a sunrise! Nor are we a fan of filters, but that is a personal opinion. An extra battery can be useful. A long shutter speed consumes much more. Curious about our material? Then take a look here.

5 Correct Settings

The right settings for shooting a sunrise is different for every situation. If we take pictures of a person for Instagram, we do this with an aperture lower than f.4. But if we take environmental photos of the sunrise itself, we do this with an aperture higher than f.8 and lower than f.20. You then adjust the shutter speed again to the aperture. In addition, keep the ISO value as low as possible (100 to 300). That way you avoid noise. A tripod is necessary for these settings! You can also photograph with the automatic mode, but of course this gives you few creative options (except for the composition).

6 Prevent lens flare

One of the most common mistakes when shooting a sunrise is undoubtedly lens flare or “sunspots”. This occurs when you photograph directly into the light source. You can best prevent this lens flare with a lens hood on your lens. Or by using a different composition. A UV filter can also solve this problem, but we are not a fan of this. In our opinion, the authenticity of the photo is then gone. Attention! Sometimes lens flare can be a creative way of shooting. Lensflare is therefore not always negative or ugly!

7 Correct post-processing

Correct post-processing actually starts with the settings on your camera. If you want to do a good edit where you have little loss of quality, then it is best to shoot your photos in RAW. Note that you need a special editing program such as Adobe Camera Raw . If you shoot in RAW, you don’t have to take the white balance into account when photographing a sunrise. If you take JPEG photos, you have to set the white balance to cloudy or shade. Otherwise you will lose too much quality in the editing afterwards. When editing a photo at sunrise, keep the colors soft and subtle, so stay away from the saturation slider and the curve when editing as much as possible. This gives a much better effect! This is allowed for night photography.

photographing sunrise
Foto nacht

Extra tips for photographing a sunrise

Do you have plans to travel the world as a couple? What is holding you back or what are you most looking forward to? Let these 6 tips be a source of inspiration to start this adventure together even better prepared!


HDR, or otherwise called High Dynamic Range, is a feature that some cameras have. With this function, your camera will then take different photos with a different light setting. These photos are then merged by the camera or a program on the computer , giving you the perfect exposed photo. This function is especially useful if you do not get the photo perfectly exposed due to too large a contrast between light and dark. With this function you always need a tripod!

stay awhile

After shooting a sunrise, sit still for a while. Because now the golden hour has arrived. Which is often also a light spectacle. This is also the time when many animals awaken. The chance of a special and beautiful photo is therefore still possible!


The composition is of course also very important when photographing a sunrise. Because this is next to lighting the most important creative influence. So study the location carefully and see if you can put something in the foreground, for example. This can be a plant, but also a beautiful rock or even an animal (if you are lucky).

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