Early Morning Photography

It is common knowledge for most photographers that early mornings and late evenings represent the best times of the day to shoot photographs. This is because the light intensity at both periods is low and the light is soft which is usually best for photography.

Also, another reason is that at these times, the angle between the sun and the earth’s surface is small. This allows for the sunlight to flow over the landscape. This is in such a way that intensifies the colors of nature and creates spectacular shadows. So how do you go about early morning photography? Read more below!


Planning For Your Early Morning Shoot

You have to carefully plan for your early morning photography shoot. Some pointers to help you effectively plan for your early morning photo shoot so that you don’t miss that perfect shot are discussed below.

  • First, check your local weather forecast so that you know what to expect, and also be sure to know what time the sunrise is expected to be.
  • Ensure your camera batteries are fully charged, and also pack extra fully charged batteries in your bag as well.
  • Check your camera bag and ensure that you have all the necessary equipment needed for your photo shoot. Camera body, lenses, tripod, lens hoods, filters etc.
  • Plan out your transport medium to your location and ensure it is all set and firing to go when you wake up in the morning.
  • Set your alarm to wake you up well ahead of pre-planned time for your photo shoot so that you have sufficient time to get to your shooting location.
  • Lastly, be disciplined enough to get up once your alarm goes off.

Know Your Shooting Location

It is important to know your shooting location well ahead of time. Unfortunately, a lot of people tend to overlook this point. Knowing your photoshoot location is equally as important as bringing your camera to a photo shoot.


Knowing your location allows you to plan your shoot ahead as you don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you are frantically running around trying to find the best location to start shooting. All you need do is to just spend about half an hour a day or two before the intended day of your shoot to look around the location so that you can get a good idea of the best spots to photograph which will save you the pain of missing out on that ideal photo.

Enjoy Yourself

It is important that you enjoy what you do, whether you are a professional photographer, or you are someone working your way up to that level, or maybe you just take to photography as a hobby. No matter the type of photography you are into or the level you are, you have to truly enjoy yourself. So have fun shooting!

How To Take Digital Photographs Early In The Morning

  • Set up and be in position, preferably your camera is set on a tripod as the first glimmers of sunlight break over the horizon.
  • Look for ground fog as it can add a soft, romantic character.
  • Study the weather. Ground fog is known to occur often in late summer and early fall on windless mornings when the temperature and the dew point are nearly the same.
  • You can play around with color temperature.
  • Also, experiment with manual exposure. Auto exposure will most likely render the scene as if it were midday which may not be what you desire. Instead, make use of your camera’s LCD as a guide, and bracket around the exposure that looks best.
  • Switch to Macro mode before shooting. Macro-mode is designated with a flower icon on most point-and-shoot cameras. If your camera is digital SLR, mount a macro lens on your it that is capable of taking extreme close-ups.
  • Use Landscape mode to capture some photos of the scenery with your back to the sun. Photos that are taken early in the morning have wonderful abstract shadows.
  • Take photos shooting directly into the sun. If the sun is visible in the scene, the dynamic range of a digital camera would be unable to capture the dark shadows and bright light so you should compose your image so that the sun is hidden behind buildings or foliage.
Other Little Details:

It is most likely your camera will still overexpose the scene, if that happens to be the case, use your camera’s exposure compensation feature to properly record the scene.

If you intend to shoot wide vistas with foreground detail, make use your wide-angle lens while telephoto lens lets you capture details and are also excellent at putting objects within their environmental context.


Light in the early morning can be cool sometimes so try to use the cloudy or shade white-balance settings on your camera to give your shot a little more warmth. Also, you will need longer exposures and this is where your tripod will play an important role as you want your camera to be as stable as possible to avoid shake spoiling your shots.

Also, it will slow you down, making you stand back and evaluate the scene in front of you before shooting.
If you are out trying to capture a sunrise image, a clear sky the night before will give you a good chance of capturing a great sunrise image. However,  if a little bit of cloud starts to appear, do not worry as it will help diffuse the light. As the sky brightens and the ground is not as bright yet, your camera may be unable to expose correctly.

You can solve this challenge by using bracketing. Also if you just want to focus on the sun, try spot metering. Bear in mind that you should never look at the sun through the lens. There is the risk of eye damage. You should instead make use of your camera’s LiveView feature. You can also compose with the sun shielded behind a solid object.


Tips to help you prepare and also successfully shoot early in the morning are provided in this article. It is no news that early mornings are good for shooting photographs. So take advantage of this golden period and shoot great images.

Author: Arinze

A Photography enthusiastic. I work with a group of other professional photographers to provide you tips on photography

About Arinze

A Photography enthusiastic. I work with a group of other professional photographers to provide you tips on photography

View all posts by Arinze →

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