Ardean Peters: Toronto Photographer | People & Light

how to photograph a sunrise

So I was up the EARLIEST I have ever been for the first time, for a shoot: 4:00am. Left btown at 4:30 to pickup my friend Kaola for her Yoga shoot. Turtle Back Yoga coming soon to Toronto!

So this is just a snap as we arrived at the beach and I was testing out settings and cursing other people that think they can actually come out to a public beach and use it at 6am in the morning, when I have a photo shoot and need the space! How rude! lol 🙂

How to get this shot,
Here I exposed for the glowing gas-ball in the sky, as it rose – which in turn – threw everything that is not lit, or reflecting light {i.e. the water} into complete shadow.

On your DSLR

1. Set to a very low ISO {your camera’s sensitivity to light}

Here mine is set at ISO 200

2. Choose your aperture {controls how much light is let in by changing the size of the opening and how also how much of the image is in-focus}

Here mine is set to f3.5, a relatively shallow depth of field, but because what I’m focusing on is far-away, everything on that plane, is in focus.

3. Choose your shutter speed {controls how much light is let in by changing how long light is let in the opening

Here mine is set to 1/6400, which is near the top limit. I could have reduced my ISO to 100 and ‘stopped down’ to a smaller aperture of f8 or f10, and gotten the same effect.

Except for sharpening and moving the colour tone and saturation plus 1 in DPP – this is as shot. Check out the ‘before’ shot here.


  1. Titanium Mike

    A sunrise you say? 🙂 Well, as it happens I did just that. 5 something AM, tripod, 6×6 camera, Kodak Portra 400. I think something like f8 but shutter speed I couldn’t tell you, but it wasn’t short 🙂 Photograph-wise, totally different approach from yours, so what do you think? And yes I do like yours! Nice dramatic curve in the foreground.


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