Sunrise vs. Sunset

The Stones vs. The Beatles. Star Wars vs. Star Trek. Family Guy vs. Simpsons. X-box vs. PlayStation. Sunrise vs. Sunset.

Personally, I like both The Stones and The Beatles, I’ve never seen Star Trek, both the Simpsons and Family Guy make me giggle and I’m not a gamer. But when it comes to sunrise vs. sunset, I definitely prefer sunrise when it comes to photographing toys! And here’s why…


We live on the South East coast of Australia. The sun rises in the east. Most of our beaches face the south or the east. Sunsets over the ocean aren’t that easy to find.

"sunrise vs. sunset" : AS-AT Lego on the beach at dawn
@-ST @ dawn


Sunrise feels softer and somewhat ‘cleaner’ to me. It’s like the day hasn’t had a chance to dirty up the sky. Sunsets feel like a reflection of the day, both good and bad, to me, whereas a sunrise splashes across a clean canvas. It feels new. Plus, my mind tends to feels ‘fresher’ in the morning. The day hasn’t had a chance to muddy up my thoughts like it does to the sky as the day develops.

"sunrise vs. sunset" : LEGO Joker with bombs

Move on baby
Down in the ground
When I get up
No one around
2kindsa love
Now I’m hungry
Baby, ain’t it blue?
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – 2Kindsa Love


People are scarce before the sun cracks the horizon. High tides have smoothed the sand. Time hasn’t had the opportunity to tarnish these pristine settings with the day’s comings and goings. As the sun sets, the day dwellers are lingering, or the night crawlers are emerging. There’s less threat of accusing, questioning eyes at sunrise. The solitude allows for uninterrupted sessions, without the treat of background lurkers ruining shots.


For some reason, I have more luck with sunrises than sunsets. Maybe it’s because I force that luck. “If I’m going to drag myself out of bed in the dark and drive down to beach to lie in the wet sand, I’m going to make sure this photograph works, damn it!” Sunsets are hit or miss. More times than not, I get lucky with nature in the mornings. Sunrises, for some reason, tend to spoil me. However, even if a sunrise fails to deliver, that leads me onto the next pro in my list, timeliness.

"sunrise vs. sunset" : LEGO Gonk at sunrise


If things go balls up, there is still a full day to shoot. If a sunset photo fails to deliver, the last of the day’s light is gone, and so is the chance to salvage something.

I look through my window so bright
I see the stars come out tonight
I see the bright and hollow sky
Over the city’s ripped backsides
Iggy Pop – The Passenger

"sunrise vs. sunset" : LEGO K-2SO at sunset
droid void
*OK, sometimes sunset shots work out

Sure, sometimes, when my mind isn’t too scrambled from the day, I do take toys out during golden hour before sunset. And yes, sometimes things work out. But, these fleeting moments of success do not sway my preference when it comes to sunrise vs. sunset.

Luck, schmuck!

The only thing I can change about my preferences for sunrises, is my luck.

My socks and shoes always match
Is it luck?
There’s a foot at the end of each of my legs
Is it luck?
Primus – Is It Luck

Unlike Homer, I’ll won’t “stop doing anything”. I’ll keep setting my alarm to rise in the dark and drive to my favourite beach to capture toys at sunrise. I’ll also be venturing out as the day fades, with a cloudy mind, in search of that sunset photograph that seems to elude me, trying to change my luck!

– Brett

Do you have a preference to shooting sunrises or sunsets? If so, why do choose the one you do?

Whether you prefer sunrise, sunset or both, they make great backdrops for silhouettes of toys. This March we’re challenging ourselves, and you, to create silhouettes of toys. You can post them to G+, The G+ Toy Photographers Community or Instagram and use our tag #toy_photographers.

If you enjoy posts like this, we invite you to join our G+ community.
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  1. Simpsons and Jon Spencer quotes!! 😄👍 yay!!
    I have to agree I always prefer sunrises too. At least for no other reason but for when your done it’s now the day. When you take them at sunset, you are just sat there in the dark. A grown man in a public place with toys and a camera. And dark. 🤔😱
    Yeah sunrise all the way for me 😆👍

    • brett_wilson

      That’s two for sunrise! Yeah, I like to still have the day ahead of me after shooting toys at sunrise. And I don’t like to look like a weirdo sitting in the dark either! Looking like a weirdo in the morning light is fine though? :/

  2. Hmmm you put forward some good reasons to go with sunrise that I had not considered. I generally stick with sunsets myself, even though I’m often awake before the sunrise.

    One of my favourite photos I’ve ever taken of a minifig was in the setting sun, on my letterbox with a piece of gold glitter paper behind her reflecting the last light of the day into my camera.

    The difference I see is that sunrise tends to be cooler on most days and I prefer the warm glow of the setting sun. But you’re totally right about the fewer people around. That is always a plus, especially for those of you who shoot on beaches, which are likely to have unturned/fresh sand in the morning.

    • brett_wilson

      I too like the “extra golden” that the evening golden hour produces. But there’s always them pesky passers by that tend to be around at dusk. The solitude and clean sand always sway my vote. Plus , he sand flies seem to be less aggressive in the mornings! 😮

      • OMGoodness freaking sand flies!

        Did a shoot down at Southside over a week ago and I’m STILL itching from those little buggers…

        The Aerogard was in the car, but the car was at the top of a very, very steep hill. Had I known they’d still be itching 8 days later I definitely would have risked the heart attack of walking up the hill twice in one day to get the bloody stuff. 😛

        But you’re right, we were there just after sunrise and they definitely got more active over the few hours we were there.

        • brett_wilson

          I saw that post! Yeah, they’ve been horrendous this year. Oh, that hike up at Southside is a killer! But I think I’d have trudged it for any chance of protection!! 😮

  3. Shelly Corbett

    I must admit I prefer Sunsets. Mostly because that is all I ever see. My favorite locations are generally West facing, and the I will admit I’m rarely up at dawn. But you lay out a convincing argument about Sunrise. I look forward to seeing how that works next December. Hopefully there will be coffee involved. 🙂

    • brett_wilson

      Coffee is essential! Even it means getting up even earlier. I cannot function without it. Maybe we can turn our alarm clocks off in December and chase sunsets? Who wants an alarm going off at 05:00 on their holidays? Not me! I’ll have to start scouting for some West facing beaches… 😀

  4. I like both sunrise and sunset! Sunsets are definitely more convenient for me. Also, if I’m shooting toys at sunset, it usually means I’ve already been shooting toys earlier in the day too, so the sunset feels like the golden hour icing on the cake and I don’t feel too bummed once the sun goes down.


    “Some girls like to kiss my face. Is it luck?” 😉

    • brett_wilson

      I wish I had convenient sunsets here! West facing beaches require a lengthy drive/hike. I do like the idea of a golden hour iced cake! What a lovely way to end a day of shooting toys.

      pps. Well done on the girly face kissing. That’s more lucky than luck! 😀

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