Aug 12, 2022

Killer sunset & sunrise tips…


If you are lucky enough to be on a holiday this year, make the most of every single second! If you’re near the beach and looking to shoot some great smartphone videos, then these easy tips should help you make the most of any location.


You have just got to shoot a sunrise! It’s such a cheery shot, a new beginning, it screams summer and if you want to create some video memories, your smartphone is the perfect tool to shoot this, just follow my easy guide.

Stability is key with a sunrise, so put your smartphone on stabilisation mode. Even better, a tripod if you have one is going to pay off here.

If shooting outside is your thing, then a gorilla tripod allows you to wrap the legs around a rock, fence or tree and may be a good investment.

The Joby gorillapods are sturdy, tried and tested by my crew and cost from around £32 (44).

Work out in advance what time is first light? Make sure you are at the location at least 30 mins before sunrise to set up. 

Don’t arrive too late and miss your moment – never underestimate how much set up time you need to find the perfect spot to shoot your video. 

If you are in a new location, do ask a local for their insider tips on where to shoot to get the best shot, they will know better than you!

Think about adding some music, this works really well as you can add some excitement as you build up to the big moment.

If you want to get really slick, take a tip from the professional filmmakers who use sun tracker apps to get the lowdown.

iPhone users can download:
Sun Seeker – Tracker & Compass
Android users can download
Sun Position, Sunrise and Sunset Demo


The sun always sets faster near the equator, and it sets more slowly at higher latitudes.

Be aware that sunsets happen so much quicker than you ever think, so do try a practise run the night before if you can.

Once you get framed up, do use your grid or inbuilt bubble level to make sure your shot is straight.

Don’t know where your bubble level is?

iPhone users

The bubble or spirit guide is in the inbuilt measure app on the latest devices. Tap on the app, then tap on level at the bottom of your screen

Hold your device in either portrait or landscape mode on the surface you want to check for level and get it straight.

Android users
Android devices don’t have an inbuilt app, but it is easy to get one. Just type the words “bubble level” into a Google app and a green box will appear. Align your vertically or horizontally and check the level. This works on iPhones too.

If you want an app then try Bubble Level, it’s free and has no ads.


Pointing your smartphone at the sun can mean serious sun flares, so once in place, tap your screen to lock in your focus and exposure, so your smartphone is not constantly trying to adapt to the fading light. 

iPhones are well known for creating lens flare, which you may not want.  It is always easier to get rid of flare whilst shooting rather than when editing.

If you want to get rid of flares, you can buy a clip on filter called a CPL. They look like a clip on smartphone lens and cost from around $10 on Amazon.

A CPL reduces the amount of scattered light in your shot, so if sunsets are something you enjoy shooting, this could be worth the investment and is a serious time saver.

Some of the best sunset beach shots have a context. Try framing up a rock in your left or right third of the shot, or try and block the sun partially with a beach umbrella or a handy palm tree.

Experiment putting something strong in your foreground, having a faceless silhouette makes viewers imagine they are there with you. Try putting a person or group between you and the sun’s light. 

If you want to darken your foreground, hold your finger down on your screen until your exposure box appears, then just slide your finger up and down or from left to right depending on your smartphone model and adjust your exposure to suit.

Choose the panorama or wide angle lens if you have one, depending on the options your smartphone offers. 

Film against the light to add a silhouette of friends watching the sunset, or a palm tree silhouetted against the sky as the sun goes down.

Both of these can transform an average video into your best sunset winner. 

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