There’s nothing like starting the day with the sun, watching the sky slowly light up, and then ending it with that same sun’s firey sunset. But what if you want to capture this same sunrise or sunset on GoPro? You’ve come to the right place.

We’ve asked GoPro Family member and experienced sun photographer Lawrence Zhou to share his top tips and tricks for sunrise and sunset photography with GoPro.

Hi, I’m Lawrence. I currently live in Christchurch, New Zealand. And, I got my first GoPro three years ago—the HERO4 Black. I originally only used it for snowboarding, and I just loved it. Then, I upgraded to HERO8 Black in 2020, and recently, I switched to the newest HERO10 Black.

Across each iteration, I’ve always marveled at how the camera’s compact size and durable design allows it to fit easily in my pocket, and still shoot incredibly high-resolution content. GoPro is definitely my daily grab-and-go camera to always be ready to capture the big moment—I never worry about missing any good shots on my daily adventures.

Now for some GoPro tips and tricks! Sunrise and sunset are my favorite times of the day to capture GoPro photo content, so the following are my top five tips to help you get the best sunrise and sunset photos on your GoPro.

1. Go For the Golden Hour

First of all, always check the weather forecast before planning to shoot any sunrise/sunset photo or video—it is all about the timing.

Second, lock in your timing. The best moment to photograph sunrise/sunset is during the “golden hour” 10 to 20 minutes before the actual event takes place. I try to get to my shooting location 40 minutes before the sunrise or sunset, allowing me to set up my camera and find the perfect spot for the shot.

Third, and most importantly, pick the right location!!! I always look for places away from the city with plenty of open space, like the beach, high up on a mountain or even on top of a building. This helps me see the best perspective of the sky and light. The best view always come after the hardest climb.

For this photo, I chose the mountains. An early 5 a.m. hike with an incredible view is always my favorite type of adventure!

Photo Settings:

Mode: Night Photo

Lens: Wide

Shutter: Auto

EV Comp: -0.5

ISO Min: 100

ISO Max: 800

Sharpness: Low

Color: Flat

Video Settings:

Resolution: 5.3K 30FPS

Lens: Wide

Bit Rate: High

Shutter: Auto

EV Comp: -0.5

ISO Min: 100

ISO Max: 800

Sharpness: Medium

Color: Natural

PRO TIP: HERO10 Black has three color profiles to choose from: Flat, Natural and Vibrant. Shooting with the color set to Flat or Natural and sharpness to low allows you to have more color control when editing in post. If I want to share the photo right away, I shoot with SuperPhoto on. SuperPhoto intelligently applies HDR, local tone mapping or multi-frame noise reduction to make for an epic image.

 

2. Embrace Empty Space, Get Creative

I’m a morning person and I’m fortunate enough to live only a 10 minute-drive from the beach, so I tend to watch a lot of amazing sunrises over the ocean. While sunrises are beautiful, the sky can be crisp, clear and cloudless that time of day. And sometimes when the sky is completely clear, the shots can feel repetitive, so it’s fun to fun to get creative with new, unique shots. Here are two of my favorite ways to be make your sunrise/sunset GoPro photos more eye-catching:

1. Grab a mirror or use glassy water to capture your subject’s reflection. In the photo below, I used a mirror to create a reflection effect on the sunrise.

Settings:

Mode: SuperPhoto

Lens: Wide

White Balance: Auto

Sharpness: Medium

2. Introduce a new texture or shape. First, choose a subject—it could be people, animals, anything that could draw high attention to the image. Then, find something else to appear alongside and enhance that subject, like creating bubbles. In the second photo below, you can see there are people, but the bubbles make the image more unique.

Settings:

Mode: Photo

Lens: Wide

Shutter: Auto

EV Comp: -0.5

ISO Min: 100

ISO Max: 400

Sharpness: Medium

Color: Flat

PRO TIP: Use the combination of setting EV Comp to -0.5 with ISO Min at 100 and the Max under 400. This will make the photo naturally underexposed with less noise. It can also maximize the image quality, which allows you have more control when editing in post.

 

3. Capture + Enjoy Simultaneously with Time Lapse

Taking photos and videos is an excellent way to “capture” the memory, but you can end up feeling like you watched everything take place from behind the lens.

So next time, I challenge you to put down your camera and try setting your GoPro on a tripod to shoot a time lapse. This way, GoPro captures the beautiful sunrise for you, and you can set yourself free to have a cup of coffee and enjoy the view.

In this time lapse video, I used a 5-second interval so capture the changes in lighting and shifting of the clouds. I also had my GoPro set up on the 3-Way 2.0 tripod. I am so stoked on how stable this mount keeps my camera while shooting. It’s definitely my new favorite accessory for capturing time or night lapses.

Settings:

Mode: Time Lapse Photo

Format: Video

Interval: 5 second

Resolution: 4K

EV Comp: -0.5

ISO Min: 100

ISO Max: 400

Sharpness: Medium

Color: Vibrant

PRO TIP: If you don’t want a 5 a.m. sunrise wake-up call, you can use the Scheduled Capture Power Tool on HERO10 or HERO9 Black to schedule your camera to turn on and start recording a time lapse. Simply pick your settings and frame up the shot the night before; then grab your camera after you’ve had a few extra minutes of beauty rest the next day.

 

4. Use LiveBurst to Catch Movement

While the sun is the main event, also be aware of the little things around you! You will be surprised by what you capture.

Take this puppy pic for example. I was consumed in taking sunrise photos at the beach, and this little boy named Bezel wandered into my shot. I knew he wanted to be in the photo, too! I quickly changed my photo mode to LiveBurst to capture both a hi-res 4K video and a burst of 12MP photos of this amazing moment.

Settings:

Mode: LiveBurst Photo

Shutter: Auto

White Balance: Auto

EV Comp: -0.5

ISO Min: 100

ISO Max: 400

Sharpness: Medium

Color: Flat

 

5. The No. 1 Best Kept (Not So Secret) Secret – Night Photo Mode!

I’ve saved the best for last! Night photo mode is by far my favorite mode for capturing sunrise and sunset. This is because the sky is either still a little bit dark or almost totally dark and taking a standard photo at this time of day can look dark and blurry. Using the Night Photo Mode helps you increase your exposure and the shutter speed to correct this.

Settings:

Mode: Night Photo

Lens: Wide

Shutter: Auto

EV Comp: -0.5

ISO Min: 100

ISO Max: 800

Sharpness: Low

Color: Vibrant

PRO TIP: When using a longer shutter speed, it might take 2-3 seconds to process the photo, so it is important to keep your camera completely still to avoid blurring the image. I recommend using a tripod like the 3-Way 2.0, but any stable space works.

This’s all for now—I hope these tips can help you to capture the best sunrise and sunset photos on your GoPro!

Learn more about HERO10 Black here.