Most people know that gorgeous, dramatic sunset photos are created in the editing process—but what does it take to get them there? What are the different ways you can edit a sunset photo, and which one is best for your needs?
To understand sunset photography, you need to know that it’s really two things: taking the picture itself and then editing it to create an evocative final product.
The good news is that once you’ve got the right settings on your camera, taking a great sunset photo isn’t rocket science.
You just need to make sure your lighting is right — which means getting to the right spot at the right time with your camera.
If you’re not sure where or when to start, there are plenty of websites that’ll tell you when the sun will be setting on which day (and even how it’ll be setting — on water or over land, for example) and where you should go if you want a great shot in your area.
Once you’ve figured out where to go, it’s time to set up your camera. You’ll probably want to use manual mode because it’s going to give you more control over your exposure — that’s how much light the sensor will let in as you take your picture.
Let’s dive right in!
SUNSET PHOTOS & Sunset photography
What Is Sunset photography?
Sunset photography is the art of capturing these beautiful moments in time using photography.
It’s not as simple as just pointing your camera at the setting sun; there are some rules and techniques to follow if you want to get outstanding quality photos.
You’ll need to consider things like timing, framing, composition, lighting conditions, and more.
The combination of the horizontal light, the changing colors, and the peace that comes with watching the sun set all add up to an amazing scene.
How To Take Sunset Photos
The sunset photos you see in magazines, portfolios and stock photo sites are not made with a simple point-and-shoot camera. It takes some knowledge of exposure, composition and post-processing to create this type of image.
I’m going to show you how to do it with an easy step by step process that anyone can follow.
Step 1 – Location
The first step is to decide where you want to shoot your photo.
You have to find a location that has a beautiful view of the sunset. Try to avoid areas that have too much clutter.
Step 2 – Exposure
Set your camera to manual mode and dial in the following settings:
- Aperture – f/8
- Shutter Speed – 30 seconds
- ISO – 100
If you have any filters on your lens, now is the time to remove them.
A polarizing filter will make the sky look darker, which is not what you are after in this type of shot.
You’ll want at least an hour of daylight left when taking a sunset photo so that there’s still color in the sky when the sun goes down.
Step 3 – Composition
You need something in the foreground for your viewers eye to focus on other than just the setting sun.
Try to capture something interesting in the foreground to frame the sunset and create an impact in your photo. This could be boulders on a beach, a tree on the edge of a cliff, etc.
Sunset Photography Tips
The most important thing you need to know about sunset photography is that it’s all about the light. The colors and shapes you see in an image are created by the interaction of light with your eyes.
To create a great sunset photograph, you need to understand what makes the light during a sunset beautiful.
To capture that quality, you need to be able to see it through the lens of your camera. It helps if you can tell whether a particular lighting situation might make a good sunset photo.
This can be difficult unless you’re very familiar with sunsets. Here are some important things to watch for…
When there’s a color change in the sky at sunset, as opposed to a lighter blue or darker blue sky.
You have a chance for a really nice photo if there are clouds involved.
The cloud shapes will add interest and the colors will be gorgeous!
Even if there aren’t clouds, colors at sunset can be very pretty, especially when they’re contrasted with darker areas such as water or trees.
If there isn’t much color around at sunset, you might get better results photographing an object that has some color.
Best Lens For Sunset Photos
Trying to determine which lens is best for sunset photography can be difficult if you aren’t familiar with the options available.
Here are some tips and tricks to help you choose the right lens for sunset photos and portraits.
Choosing the Right Lens for Sunset Photos
If you’re new to photography or just looking for a way to improve, it’s important to start off with a lens that fits into your needs and budget.
A single, versatile lens can go a long way in helping you get the most out of your experience with the camera.
A 24mm lens is great when it comes to landscape pictures because it offers an extremely wide field of view.
Landscapes allow photographers to capture their surroundings in one shot, making this option great for those who want to capture every detail.
Taking Bright Landscape Sunset Photos
A sunset is a beautiful thing, especially when you’re capturing it on camera. The only problem with taking pictures of sunsets is that the light can make it hard to see your subject clearly.
But with a few simple tricks, you can capture those bright, colorful sunsets without losing clarity.
Here are a few tips to help you take beautiful landscape sunset photos:
The best way to get the best view of a sunset is to get above it. If you’re at the beach or along a lake or river, climb up higher than your subject. You can do this by standing on a rock or jumping up on any elevated surface.
Just make sure you don’t drop anything into the water below!
Use a wide-angle lens.
When taking landscape sunset photos, use a wide-angle lens so you get as much of the sky in your picture as possible. Wide-angle lenses also allow more light into the camera, which will help keep things clear and focused.
Use the golden hour.
The golden hour begins about one hour before sunset and lasts for about one hour after sunset. During this time, the sun’s light hits your landscape at an angle that makes shadows less noticeable.
Composing Sunset Landscape Photos
A sunset is a beautiful sight to see and the most common way to capture it is by taking photos of the sun as it sinks below the horizon.
Such images are romantic and hauntingly beautiful, but they can also be difficult to get right.
Foggy or smoggy days can make it hard to see the sun. If you’re taking photos of a sunset that occurs at different times every day, you might have to wait hours or even days for the perfect opportunity.
Since you don’t want to spend your entire vacation chasing after a sunset, be sure to do some research before leaving home so you know what you’re up against.
Most importantly, remember to set your camera up in advance so that you’re not struggling with it while the sun is going down.
Another thing to remember is that different colors in the sky tell stories of their own.
A sunset where the sky is lit up with reds and oranges can be breathtakingly beautiful, but a deep blue sky might tell a more peaceful story.
Choose your colors wisely!
Get There Early
“Get there early.” That’s the advice I’ve heard so many times regarding photography, and I never really understood why.
Sunset photography can be a lot of fun. While you can get good images from sunset, it can also be challenging.
There are several reasons you want to get to a location early. First, the light is better earlier in the day.
If you’re photographing at sunset and you’re facing west, then the light will be behind you at first.This is perfect because the sun will be behind your subject and it will create nice backlighting (although, if there are any clouds in the sky then this won’t work).
The longer you wait after sunset, the less light there will be and the harder it will be to capture images with enough light.
You should also get to your location early so that you have time to scout out the best vantage point for your specific shot.
It’ll take some time before the sun actually sets, and if you’re not in a rush then you have time to explore.
The other reason for getting there early is safety.You don’t want to go stumbling around in woods or other places in the dark where there may be wildlife around.
Stay After The Sun Sets
As a photographer, you have to be ready to capture anything. You may have to be at a location before sunrise and stay after sunset.
If a shoot goes long, you have to keep your energy up and remain focused.
Sunset photography is a great time to be adventurous with your photos.
You can even get some beautiful light on the horizon as the sun sets. I’ve compiled some tips from some awesome photographers, who specialize in sunset photography, on how to get great sunset shots. .
These tips are perfect for those who want to capture this beautiful time of day and don’t know where to start.
10 Tips for Sunset Photography
Location. Location. Location.
“Location is very important for sunset photography because you want an interesting background for your shots,” says Michael Zeiler, editor of The View From 543. ’You want it to either be a silhouette or part of an interesting landscape.’
Plan Ahead.’Take the time to plan your shot,’ says Zeiler.
“Think about what you want in the frame, where the sun is going to go down, and how much time you have.’Figure out what lens you’re going to need.”
Put Your Camera In Aperture Priority Mode.
The best way to take breathtaking sunset photos is to use a tripod and put the camera in aperture priority mode.
This will allow the camera to control the shutter speed while you control the aperture. Start by using a wide aperture that will allow you to use a faster shutter speed.
Next, set the exposure compensation on your camera to +1 stop. This will give you more light than normal, which is required for taking pictures at sunset.
It also helps with capturing colors in the sky as the sun sets. Tripods are essential for taking pictures like this because of the long exposure time.
The tripod allows for less blurring since the camera can stay steady. Once your camera is mounted on a tripod, set it to aperture priority mode (AV).
Follow these steps:
- Set your ISO to 100 or 200. Set your aperture anywhere from F5.6 – F8, depending on how much depth of field you want in your image.
- Set your shutter speed anywhere between 1/60th – 1/15th of a second.
- Take test shots and adjust accordingly.
Examples Of Sunset Photography Settings
There are many ways to capture a sunset photo. One of the main things to keep in mind is the time.
You have to wait for sunset time in order to get good results. If you are not able to do this, then you can use sunset filter for your camera to get similar results.
A tripod is essential when taking a sunset shot.
Try choosing an area where there are not much crowds in order to limit possible disturbance while taking your shots.
Also, ensure that there will not be any barrier between you and the sun at the time of taking photos.
There are various types of sunset filters available which will enhance your image.
When shooting sunsets from a beach, remember that the sand will reflect on your lens and cause flare. If you don’t want to get sand on your lens, I suggest bringing a lens cloth to clean it every few minutes.
If you’re shooting sunset portraits of people, make sure they stand away from the sun and towards the darker side of the horizon. This way it won’t be directly behind them and cause their face to appear too dark.
If your model is wearing sunglasses, make sure they aren’t mirrored because they will reflect in your photo. The same goes for reflective clothing.