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Shoot better travel photographs – early morning shooting

See my first guide ”Shoot better travel photographs” for the basics of both shooting photos and shooting better travel photographs, including basic tips, preparing going out shooting, settings and for editing when abroad. This post is a continuation of that post and won´t go into basics.HH7A9808

When in Borgå, me and Konsta Punkka, an amazing 20 year old photographer went out taking photos. It was his travel concept, when going abroad, he is an early bird, getting out of bed before the sun rises to get the most amazing shots.


5-6 o´clock early morning



There are several advantages of getting up early.

– The early morning light is surely the best light, I think you agree, especially in combination with fog and long shutterspeed. But there are also other advantages,

– as in cities: no traffic at five o´clock in the morning

– some animals are early morning persons as well so you probably get more lucky catching them on camera.

– you get a head. If you shoot from 5 o´clock until aroun 8 o´clock you have done your entire days of shooting and can basically leave your camera at home. Well, I wouldn´t go that far, but almost. It is a win win situation at least.



Depending on the climate you have to dress accordingly and just remember that you freeze more in the morning. A pair of thick socks is great for the cold feet. I have breakfast after. Be sure that you are a person that survives three hours without food in the morning or bring bananas. 😉


– Bring your smartphone. Early morning photos look great shot even with the iPhone. If you don´t have a DSLR (systemkamera), the iPhone is sufficient or in combination with another digital camera of some sort. I like taking photos with my iPad. If you like trying out new stuff with the smartphone I have seen that it is possible to by external lenses for a couple of dollars to the iPhone. Maybe a fish-eye or a wide-angle lens to the iPhone is enought when traveling abroad?

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If you have a DSLR:

Here comes the tricky part. Early morning photos before sunrise requires long shutterspeed for best effect (my opinion). When using long shutterspeed you need

– a tripod (stativ) of some sort so the camera holds still. It is of course possible to just put the camera on a bridge or on the ground and shoot cool photos, but to make the most of it, you need to pack your tripod. Mine is heavy, I regret bringing it every time. I regret taking it home from Machu Picchu when it broke on the top, but in the end it is necessary.

– when bringing a tripod you need your big camera bag to put it in, or you could do it as Konsta, bring your clothbag (tygpåse) and just put the camera in that and the tripod on the luggage carrier on the bike, if you have one. Maybe you feel that the equipment is to expensive or maybe, you like keeping it simple.

– when using long shutterspeed and shooting in cold weather, bring sufficient numbers of batteries, I´ll go for three.


The result from longer shutterspeed and using a tripod is better quality and clearer pictures


Grab your gear and head out. You can of course also use weather apps beforehand and check in which direction and time the sun rises.



  1. Pingback: Shoot better travel photographs. | Katarina Wohlfart

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