5 Tips for Photographing Sunsets


The great staff at Henry’s published a helpful article on photographing sunsets that I had to share. Take a look at the following 5 tips on how to photograph sunsets before your next photoshoot.

18.0 mm ƒ/9.0, Shutter: 1/100 ISO: 100

Tip One – Underexposure

Your colours will be vivid and defined by underexposing the sunset. You will add drama to your image using this technique. There are two ways to accomplish underexposure. The first way to shoot is in aperture priority using exposure compensation for as long as the sun remains in the sky. When the sun goes down switch to the second method by using manual mode to get a better exposure because the less light you have, the more inaccurate your exposure meter will be. Using these two methods makes a significant difference in the depth of your colours, and that is why “they” are the first tip.

Tip Two – The Foreground

Your sunset will be more interesting if there is a subject matter in the foreground. A tree, bird, rock, bench, person, or animal can make your sunset pop as it encloses the object in the foreground. Mount your camera on a tripod and use off-camera flash to add a touch of light to faces. Using a fast shutter speed with off-camera flash will create richer and deeper.

Tip Three – The Horizon

Sun Set over Lake Simcoe
60 mm ƒ/13.0, Shutter:1/200 ISO: 100

Under no circumstances should the horizon cut your picture in half. It should preferably be located in the lower third of the image, especially when the sunset is beautiful. Another option is to place the horizon in the top third of the image when the sunset is less vibrant.

Tip Four – Silhouettes

You need a fast shutter speed to capture a silhouette and place your subject above the horizon, and that’s almost all there is to it. Have your object in front of your sunset light source, and be sure it is recognizable in silhouette form. An ideal subject can be almost anything including a bird in flight, bridge, pier, drifting boat, animals, people in action, buildings, and steeples. You will think of many more, including the romantic couple kiss.

Tip Five – Shoot in Raw

A sunset image contains a wealth of light information that is simply tossed out if you shoot JPEG, and so much of the colour’s vibrancy will be lost. Use a remote shutter to ensure there is no blur.

Source: Tips For Photographing Sunsets

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