7 Reasons to Do a Sunrise Photo Shoot

"Swimming Moonlight" featuring Aleah Michele 

Ok, can we just agree that our beds are the most wonderfully magical places that we can call our own? Sleeping in, all snuggled beneath a sea of comforters and pillows, being warm and nestled in your happy place is just perfection. I'm now going to ask you to leave that happy place at the butthole of dawn. EWW WHAT!? Yes my friends, get your comfy little butts out of bed and go out in the cold for the sake of art!! (Unless you live somewhere with a more gentle climate year-round, in which case, get your butt out of bed and go out in the warm...)

It's pretty much common knowledge that doing a shoot before/during/slightly after sunrise is one of the most beautiful lighting situations you could ever hope for outside the control of a studio. Heck, even in a studio it's going to be a challenge to perfectly emulate this most magical of times. Plus the ever-changing light of the oncoming sun adds the element of a delightful pressure to get your shot. I felt like I was shooting on a tight schedule because if I waited too long the light would completely change and my images wouldn't blend together very easily. The whole morning had an exciting energy about it knowing that it was crunch time! 

Now let's get something straight: this is not an event for every morning. (Obvs) You should most definitely NOT deny yourself the luxury of some extra Z's when you can, but every once in a while do yourself a favor and plan a sunrise shoot. You won't regret it. Sure, your alarm is going to go off and your body might say (in a Gollum voice), "WHAT'S THAT SOUND!?!?! Make it stop, we hates it! Mustn't leave my precious bed!" But you just have to fight your sleepy-morning-demon and get up! This is precisely why I find it much more effective to have some buddies come join you on your early adventure to hold you accountable. Aka everyone at a photography meet up perhaps?

 Who needs a tripod when you have a railing and bench? Also please ignore the fake crow that's trying to crawl into my butt....

Who needs a tripod when you have a railing and bench? Also please ignore the fake crow that's trying to crawl into my butt....

During the meet up I hosted last fall, I decided to let everyone know that on the first morning I was going to venture across the street to the pier for a sunrise shoot and all were welcome to join in. So basically everyone did, and it was really awesome. If it's just you getting up to do a self portrait or something (which could actually be a lovely zen and self-reflective way to start a day) you're more likely to hit the snooze button, but if you're meeting a crap-load of other photographers you're much more likely to be rearing and ready to go. Normally the thought of getting up that early on a day I'm essentially on vacation sounds like a giant pile of nope, but my alarm went off and I was not Gollum at all. 

I was wide awake, excited, and ready for action. The house was buzzing with half-asleep photographers gathering props, donning fancy garments, and bundling up for the late November cold of upstate New York. One nice thing you can always count on when it comes to shooting at photography gatherings is that no one seems to complain about modeling in the cold. However, it's always nice to have way more than enough layers for in between shooting, especially when you're up before the warmth of the sun! Needless to say, hats, gloves and scarves were plentiful ... but also capes and dresses, because duh.

Some of the many perks of shooting during sunrise are as follows...

1. As if you didn't know, the light is BEAUTIFUL! It's so milky soft, diffused and perfect.

2. The colors. Ok so this kinda goes with the light ... because the color is the light, but come on the colors you can capture are just stunning

3. Not many pedestrians are around to bother you while you're doing weird things in public places ... not that that usually stops most of us hehehe. 

4. Your brain is fresh. Right after you wake up it's like your brain has just reset. You have nothing holding your creativity back and for all I know you might still be half asleep and can come up with all kinds of semiconscious dreamy ideas. 

5. The ticking clock of the rising sun causes you to make snap decisions and not overthink everything and the shoot is much more exciting and fluid.

6. You have so much day left! It definitely feels fantastic to be heading home after a shoot and have it still be earlier than when you would normally get up. You've already been crazy productive and the day has barely begun. It gives your whole day a boost of energy and motivation. 

7. It's just so beautiful to see what nature does every morning! Whether or not you're a photographer, just do yourself the favor of experiencing a glorious sunrise every once in a while. 

So did it work? Have I convinced you that if you've never done a sunrise shoot it's about time you did? And for those that have, don't wait too long to do it again! Thanks so much to all you crazy photographer friends who joined me on that chilly morning. And a big shout out/thank you to Shelby Robinson, Valerie Kasinski, Tom Newforge, Marissa McPeak, and Chris Rivera (and myself I guess?) for all the lovely behind the scenes pics in this post. Oh and of course also to Shelby for the use of her glorious silver cape situation. And naturally one more huge thanks to the incredibly talented Aleah for being such a top notch model. Well, happy shooting everyone - NOW GO GET YOUR BUTTS OUT OF BED AND MAKE SOME ART!!

Also thanks to the Image Manipulation Store, for the awesome speckley texture! They have a TON of amazing elements for retouching over in there, check it out!!

Enter your email address to subscribe: