Three points to shoot the sun with a smartphone (1)

In the first of three articles we look at focal distance

If we have good weather, sunrise and sunset are beautiful. In Japan many people want to take images of the new year’s first sunrise. Today we can shoot sunrise and sunset with smartphones. But to take good pictures with the device, you need to understand three points.

1. Focal distance is as important as composition

When it comes to shooting sunrise, there is no must-have item. We can take beautiful pictures of it with just smartphones. But you need to be careful about focal distance.

The longer the focus distance is, the larger the sun becomes as we use telephoto zoom lenses. It is not always necessary to enlarge the subject. But the point is imagine and decide the size of the sun in images taken before shooting according to your goal (what you want to tell through the image) or your camera or lens.

Now let’s look at four sample images taken with wide-angle, standard, telephoto and ultra-telephoto lenses.

Wide-angle lens

Standard lens

Telephoto lens

Ultra-telephoto lens

As you can see above, if you want to take a full shot of sunrise, prepare for a telephoto lens with focal distance over 300mm. Images will be powerful with the sun as the main part.

If you have only a wide-angle or standard lens or a smartphone, you should capture the sun as a part of the whole landscape while making the sky look well. An image below was taken with a wide-angle lens of iPhone 7 Plus. We gave up taking a full shot of the sun. Instead we express the wide space of the sky to make it look dramatic and outstanding.


Read the second point of shooting the sun

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