Sunrise photography tips: DSLR shortcuts that are guaranteed to brighten your day

    | Landscape | Photography Tips | 14/06/2013 00:01am

    Sunrise photography tips for during the shoot

    Sunrise photography tips for during the shoot: get the best light possible

    Get the best light possible
    “I’ve always loved shooting the sea and coastal buildings. The sea and sky never stay the same,” says Dave. “What I learned shooting Portland Bill lighthouse was how important it is to get the best light – which is often at dawn – and how fast it changes. You must set up your DSLR beforehand.”

    Get ready the night before
    In the UK most of us are fortunate enough to be within a couple of hours’ drive of the coast, so you probably won’t have to camp out on location overnight in order to catch the dawn light. But you will be making an early start, and few of us are at our best early in the morning, so a bit of advance planning is essential.

    The day before you set off, check the water and oil levels of your car, inflate the tires to their correct pressure, and make sure you have enough fuel for the journey. Make yourself up a care package of something to eat and drink. If your body isn’t used to being up early, you’ll need to fuel it properly and take care of yourself.

    Get to bed early the night before and set two alarm clocks. Be sure not to eat heavily or drink alcohol, or you’ll feel terrible when that 3am alarm goes off – and if you have been drinking, you’ll also be in no legal state to drive.

    Speed up your camera’s processing times
    “We took lots of slow shutter speed (long exposure) shots of the sea and cliffs, and I noticed it was taking up to two minutes for my camera to process the shots. This was getting very annoying. Guy told me to check if the Long Exposure Noise Reduction setting was on. 
It was, and turned to Auto. Once I turned it off, my camera really sped up.”

    Sunrise photography tips for during the shoot: speed up your processing time

    Step 1
    To turn this setting off, hit the Menu button on the back of the 400D, pick the orange ‘tools’ icon and Custom Function.

    Sunrise photography tips for during the shoot: speed up your processing time

    Step 2
    Off it goes! To reduce noise, Guy said I should shoot at lower ISO settings, or try Noise Ninja (

    Sunrise photography tips for during the shoot: speed up your processing time

    Step 3
    This shot saved in a jiffy. It was shot at ISO100, too, so there wasn’t much noise in evidence. I love this scene.


    Sunrise photography tips for during the shoot: lock your mirror

    Lock your mirror
    When shooting at slow shutter speeds to get ‘milky’ sea effects (see page 120), Dave found it hard to avoid camera shake and keep every shot sharp – even with a tripod. Then Guy advised him to use the Mirror Lockup function. This locks the D-SLR’s mirror in the up position, reducing camera shake even further.

    Sunrise photography tips: use a shutter release

    Use a shutter release
    As well as Mirror Lockup, Dave used a shutter release to keep his DSLR rock solid. Guy told Dave to shoot the waves as they were going out. “If you do this, the wave motion is much more predictable.”

    PAGE 1: Meet our professional photographer and apprentice
    PAGE 2: Sunrise photography tips for during the shoot
    PAGE 3: Final sunrise photography tips from our professional photographer
    PAGE 4: Our professional photographer’s recommended gear
    PAGE 5: Shot of the Day


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    Posted on Friday, June 14th, 2013 at 12:01 am under Landscape, Photography Tips.

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