How to capture brilliant sunrise photos.
These basic composition rules, camera settings, and editing tips will help you take awe-inspiring sunrise photos.
Sunrise and sunset are the best times of day for taking landscape photos. They provide the most dramatic lighting, bathing your subject in rich color without the harsh shadow of midday light. When you’re shooting sunrise photography, aim for what’s called the “golden hour,” roughly one to two hours before and after sunrise. Understand the best camera settings and editing techniques to do justice to this striking hour.
The best camera settings for sunrise photography.
The three key settings to keep in mind when shooting sunrise photos are ISO (your camera’s sensitivity to light), aperture (your camera’s depth of field), and shutter speed (how fast your camera takes a photo). As with all photography, these three features will help you capture the expanse, light and clarity of your subject.
- ISO: Set your ISO to the lowest possible setting to remove extra noise, texture and light.
- Aperture: For sweeping landscape photos like sunrises, you’ll want a high aperture to keep more of your subject in focus without flattening the space. For example, if you really want to focus on the sun in your sunrise photo, this aperture size will allow you to capture sunbursts.
- Shutter speed: Generally, the brighter the sun becomes as it rises, the higher shutter speed you’ll need.
Quantity and quality are important here. Sunrises are transient, and the lighting changes by the minute. The more photos you’re able to snap, the broader range of tones, shadows, and cools you’ll be able to capture and choose to use for editing.
Work with light, shadow, color, and detail.
Let these basic tenets guide your editing process. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom makes the process intuitive and fun — with presets and customizable filters.
- Highlights and shadows: you’ll want to decrease your highlights and shadows to really bring out the individual and varied sunrise colors and effects.
- Sharpening: Make your photo more vivid with Lightroom’s clarity and sharpening effects. These tools can bring out the details of the foreground and create a more three-dimensional feel.
- Coloring: Heighten the color in your composition with Lightroom’s “dehaze” feature to increase vibrance and saturation.
Once you master these basic features, you can alter color schemes, target adjustments in specific areas of your photo, crop your image, and create nuanced effects.