Sunset And Sunrise Photography : Tips For Beginners

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We all have come across some breathtaking images with natural elements shining gloriously in diffused light. These images are taken during Sunset or Sunrise when the shadows are not very harsh, and over-exposing the sky is not very likely. The low angle of the sun above the horizon refracts the light in a way that it covers your subject in warm rich shades. The diminished intensity allows you to capture a more dynamic range of light. The ethereal beauty of sunset and sunrise photography has a surreal appeal to it.

Let’s explore some amazing tips and methods that will help you take some fabulous sunrise or sunset snaps that will enchant just anybody.

Golden hour

This is the short time window that we are looking at to capture some fantastic natural shots shortly after sunrise or before sunset. It is the best time to take mind-blowing pictures as the sun is at a low angle near the horizon. Its rays are usually diffused, filling the air with a flattering golden hue that is perfect for capturing warm natural scenery. Soft and long shadows add dimensions to the pictures while taking away all the attention and feels soothing to look at.

Moreover, the camera mustn’t be set to Auto White Balance as it will balance out the warm tones, this prevents the desired result. Set it to manual mode so you can edit the scene while reviewing it. Golden Hour takes place only twice a day so make sure that you don’t blow your chance.



 In optics, an aperture is a hole or an opening through which light travels. More specifically, the aperture and the focal length of a camera determines the cone angle of a bundle of rays that come to a focus in the image plane. Although, the subject and effect you are expecting will determine most of the settings, for landscape mode use mid to small aperture. Range better f/8 to f/16 is ideal for such photography. 

Using this will help you focus most of the elements in the frame clearly. If you want to capture the sun, a higher number of apertures may help you capture sunbursts. If you find shutter speed to be more important, put the camera on Aperture Priority mode. It is up to your camera to decide how big or small you want to make your aperture when you shoot.



The composition of your pictures is a great way to capture realistic and dynamic images. The rule of thirds applies to the process of dividing an image into thirds, using two horizontal and two vertical lines. When you position the most important elements of your image at the intersection points, you produce much more natural images. It describes a basic compositional structure of a photograph. Place the key elements of your scene at one or more of these areas in a photo. Ideally, the space that is left should be in the direction the subject is heading towards. It can help you create well-balanced and interesting shots.

Also, try to level your horizon because crooked horizons are a surefire way to look cheap and amateurish.


Neutral density filter

Using a neutral density filter is very useful if you want to use the sun in your composition. If possible use this filter to correct exposure into the camera. You can use a slower shutter speed so that you can use the right amount of light to capture the foreground well.

You can use a solid neutral density filter to reduce the amount of light hitting your camera sensor for the entire frame. Or use graduated filters to only use light in the sky for instance.


Go out

It is a good idea to go out even when the weather is not as per your liking. Experiment outside during odd weather so that you can enhance your skills and become better at taking natural photographs. Clouds can scatter light and look more dramatic in some weather which makes the mood more magical. You can wait for such a scenario to take place to take extraordinary photos. Practice taking perfect pictures and improve as a photographer.


It is the influence of the sun that matters that most. Make sure that your emotions and mood are appropriately communicated through the image and you are doing complete justice to the scenery even if you have to go out of your way to do so. Be ready for the unexpected as we don’t know what nature has to offer.

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