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[How to] EASILY capture great photos of sunrise and sunset! Tips from an expert.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

(NOTE: This tutorial is intentionally kept concise and easy as I believe that focusing too much on the technical aspects kills the art and creativity of photography. Use the tips below and you'll soon learn to take great photos with ease and confidence! :) )

Why Photograph Sunrise and Sunset

Putting it in a nutshell, sunrise and sunset are among the best times to take photographs. The dim, diffused light at these times is highly suited to photography! :)

How to easily capture awesome photos of sunrise and sunset:

Here are some handy tips for taking great photographs of sunrise and sunset. They're easy and you can follow them even if you're a novice! :)

(Professional and serious photographers; do not take offense at the simplicity of the instructions and the nontraditional approach to exposure and saturation. All I want is to make it easy for everyone. :) )

Camera settings tips:

  1. Reduce the exposure manually: You don't have to be a geek to understand this. :P Just fiddle with the EV control and don't bother with shutter speed and aperture unless you're fully comfortable with these settings. Reduce the EV a couple of steps and you'll have much better saturation, details and lighting.
  2. Select Daylight or Cloudy WB: Select daylight or cloudy white balance manually (even if it isn't cloudy at all! ) Your photos will acquire a orange/yellow tint that will really make it pleasing. (Check out my guide to understanding and using white balance here )
  3. Increase the saturation manually: You'll have deeper colors if you increase the saturation. However, make sure you don't overdo it. 
  4. If you have a professional camera, the settings recommended for taking photos at sunrise and sunset are as below.
Sunrise & Sunset 

Aperture Priority Mode (Av)
f/11 (Middle range f-number)

 You may be tempted to try an ISO greater than 100 for better exposure; however, it will produce much more noise and desaturated colors. For capturing the best photos of sunrise and sunset, I advice that you stick to ISO100.

Photo composition tips:

  1. Don't always centralize the sun: You don't need to keep the sun in the center of the frame all the time. It creates a really classy feel if you knock the sun off the center! :) Try the rule of thirds on it for great results.
  2. Try creating silhouettes: Try to create silhouette photographs at sunrise or sunset, they really rock in deep orange background! :) Raising the contrast will make it easier.
  3. Add a foreground object: Throw in a foreground object in any corner of the frame and you'll make your shot much more appealing.

Here's one of my sunset photographs. You can see some more here.

Beautiful, dreamy sunset with clouds and a couple of birds
A truly dreamy sunset with a beautiful formation of clouds and couple of birds.

Using these tips, you can easily capture great photos of sunset and sunrise even if you are a novice. I hope you'll find this tutorial helpful! :)


  1. nice tutorial =)

  2. like your approach

  3. You break it down so nicely and clearly. Great article.

  4. One of the easiest and most practical tutorials on sunset photography. A bit brief but great


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