15 Easy Tips for Better Sunrise Photography

January 29, 2019

Professional photographer, Anton Gorlin, strives to capture the essence of the moment, and the beauty and wealth of shapes and forms in his photographs. Originally from the Ukraine, Anton currently lives in Sydney, Australia where he runs a successful photography studio specializing in both real estate and landscape photography. Anton has over 200 real estate clients, including real estate agents, property owners, designers and architects, and is also an internationally-recognized and published photographer focusing on capturing the beauty of the Australian terrain.

When I feel creativity it’s as if something descends upon me. I see images with my internal sight and try to capture what I see as best as I can in my photographs. The camera, as a physical device, has its limitations. My eyes are also devices, but crafted much better than the camera. Therefore, I entrust the implementation of the idea to the most advanced equipment of all available – my vision and imagination, which have no limits.

Anton Gorlin editing his photos

Anton Gorlin editing his photos

Anton primarily shoots with a Nikon D750 and a Tamron 15-30/2.8 lens, and uses a Wacom Intuos Pro to edit his images. ”Photography equipment is essential, but the photographer’s vision is even more so. Photographers have always edited photos. Previously it was in a darkroom; now it is done digitally. Photography editing is another level of art an artist can perform to fine-tune, create and to express himself. As long as the final product evokes emotions, it’s successful. All of my images are edited. Most of them are close to the reality as I saw it.”

“I believe we, as human beings, only see a filtered reality of our own little world. Every small world is beautiful in something, and is perfect to some extent. My art is a way to share a bit of my world with you.”

According to Anton, there are benefits to sunrise photography which are worth setting your alarm clock for:

More often than not, you’ll have the whole area at your disposal. There will be nearly no people around, less noise, and no one to walk into your frame.
Sunrise transitions from dark to light, from sleep to life. It’s like a birth of life and activity that feels like a new opportunity, a new adventure.
In the early morning, the air tends to have more clarity than later in the day. As the day progresses, particles in the air get stirred up, causing more red reflections in the sky.

Here are his top 15 tips to get you started:

1) Arrive Early

If you arrive 60 minutes before dawn, you can get incredible results with long-exposure photographs.


1 sunrise photography long


2) Bring Extra Light

Don’t be left in the dark! A headlamp or flashlight is useful for making sure you can see your surroundings.

Photo credit: Vadim Brodsky

Photo credit: Vadim Brodsky


3) Create Light Bleeding or a Starburst Effect

These fun lighting effects will give a new dimension to your photograph and make your photos come alive. Gorlin even has a tutorial on how to create a starburst effect.


4) Pay attention to the Weather

This may seem obvious, but understanding the weather will help you know if you’re in for an amazing sunset or a muddy sky filled with clouds.

10 look all directions


5) Create an HDR Image (Filters, Bracketing or Underexposure)

For sunrise photography, the exposure difference between the sky and the foreground is immense, and you need some tools to compensate. Filters and bracketing will allow you to shoot photos that you can process into an HDR image for incredible depth and light.


I saw this cave few weeks ago and thought maybe I could do something like this. Also, maybe in summer the Sun will be visible in the corner. I wonder how cool that shot would be

6) Take Photos During Golden Hour

Your photo will be filled with the warm golden hues of the sun’s rays if you take your shot right after the sun rises over the horizon. This type of light creates the longest shadows, while preserving details.

Golden Hour


7) Use Silhouettes to Your Advantage

Create interest in your shot by exposing the sky and leaving the foreground dark. This works best if there’s a recognizable element in the foreground, such as an animal, tree or person.



8) Include Reflections

Double the beauty of the sunrise by utilizing reflections. You can smooth out reflections with a long exposure, or find a puddle, rock pool or pond on a still morning.



9) Focus the Right Way

If it’s too dark to focus on a given element, open your aperture or use your flashlight to illuminate something the lens can focus on.


10) Look in All Directions

Don’t just stay focused on the direction of the sun; constantly look around for beautiful elements and colors.

Look in all directions

11) Bring a Tripod

It doesn’t matter how good your stabilizer is, you’ll need a good tripod to capture the perfect moment.

Bring a tripod

12) Look for the Light

Watch for the faint skyline that appears prior to sunrise and you’re guaranteed to pull out interesting textures that can be enhanced in post-production.

Look for the light

13) Change Locations

Don’t stay in one spot. Walk around and see what other points of view have to offer. It’s better to try different compositions, different points of view and different subjects. Be flexible, you can always go back to your original spot.

change locations


14) Scout Your Location in Advance

Since it will be dark when you arrive the day of the shoot, you’ll want to know where you’re going in advance. Google the location and visit ahead of time so you can take note of potential areas and envision your future photos.

15) Don’t Leave Too Early

Don’t rush to pack your bags. Some of the most interesting light can happen right after sunrise, as you never know when clouds can part, letting the sun’s rays filter through.

Dont leave too early

Anton has a wealth of valuable, free resources on his website: downloadable guides, spectacular wallpapers, handy quick-reference charts and more. You can download Anton’s full guide to better sunrise photography here.

Anton gorlinExternal Links




Related posts:

Shop the Wacom eStore*

When you shop on the Wacom eStore you get access to discounts, financing, extended warranties, and our industry-leading customer support team.

Connect with Wacom on Social

Who's your favorite Pokémon? 💦🍃🔥⚡⁣
Some nostalgic friends for #FridayFanart with amazing art by @philipsue_art. If beautiful landscapes, process videos, and art tips are your thing, Philip's page is the place to visit!⁣
#MadewithWacom #digitalart #animation #art #artprocess #fanart #pokemon #pikachu
5048 23
Digital kitchen time! 
Here's the last of @patrick_4d's digital burger tip series. We hope you tried making your own burger or at least went out and got one for sustenance 🍔🍔🍔
Thank you Patrick for making us the most delicious digital burger we could have wished for. 
543 16
This is a reminder for you to embrace your geek side! 🚀

For those who spend hours designing a new skin for their character, creating 3D models of their favourite video game or programming special effects for movies.
Your art makes us proud!

How are you going to celebrate? 👇

#GeekPrideDay #Geek #ArtistsLife
840 5
Tag your other half. ✨💕⁣
We had to share the love with @yuyo.psd's heartwarming illustration. 🫶⁣
If you like the flow and colors of Yuyo's design, make sure you check out their page for more colorful artwork! 💜⁣
#MadewithWacom #digitalart #illustration #art #graphicdesign
682 8
From concept to reality, @pixebo’s home office is brought to life to create a cozy place to sit down with their Wacom Cintiq and get to work! ✨✍️

#WacomWorkspace #digitalart #homeoffice #deskgoals #wfh
1706 13
Discover the technology behind #CintiqPro24 🚀⁣
The #WacomProPen2 provides state-of-the-art creative pen technology, meaning every stroke, every move of your hand is followed with unerring accuracy. 💫⁣
Want to discover how it feels to draw with it? Check the link in bio!⁣
#Cintiqpro24 #CreativeProfessionals #CintiqPro
703 14
Colorful creative portrait by artist @valerie.loves.colors to start off your week. 🌈☀️🍃⁣
Valerie finds that people and colors give her the most inspiration. She points out that everyone is unique and vibrant in their own way, much like the color spectrum! 🎨⁣
#MadewithWacom #abstractart #digitalart #art #portrait #illustration
470 6
The importance of taking breaks ❤️

We’ve seen absolutely identified with the words of @ms.shortyj 💫 Taking care of yourself will help you grow as an artist.

Stopping is not quitting, is just taking a pause of the path to get another perspective 😉

What other things help you when you feel this way? Share it in the comments!

#Artistslife #MentalHealthAwarenessMonth
1278 18
If you could design your dream workspace, how would it look like? 🚀⁣
Tell us in the comments what are your must-haves! 👇⁣
#WacomWorkspace #ArtistWorkspace
630 14
Don't mind us, we're out here dreaming of @patrick_4d's Wacom burger this weekend. Check out these juicy tips he shares to help you create the best looking digital burger ever! #wacomwantsaburger 
Are you participating in our burger challenge? Visit the link in our bio for more details and a chance to win some cool Wacom prizes.
732 11
Serene moment in time. 😌🌊 Slice of life shot and retouched by photographer @ashrafularefin. ⁣
#MadewithWacom #photography #streetphotography #OldDhaka
534 5