We are all drawn to beautiful sunsets, and for good reason. The sky is awash in a stunning combination of colors, featuring everything from bright reds and oranges to pinks and deep purples. This, combined with the setting sun in the distance is hard to top.
Unfortunately though, there are plenty of sunset photos around. They’re fun to take, and even those among us who don’t even know how to use a camera properly have taken at least one or two sunset images in their time.
1. Be Prepared
When capturing sunsets, you’ll have a short window of time where the light is best, so you will want to work quickly. Plan things out before you head out, and if possible, try to arrive on location a little early to set things up so when the colors start to show – you will be ready. You may also want to download a sunrise/sunset app that will tell you when the sunset is.
Aside from the standard gear, you will also want to bring along a tripod and remote release. This will help to steady your camera allowing you to use longer exposures. Of course, if you don’t have a remote release, you could always use your camera’s timer to prevent camera shake.
2. Go After a Storm
If you have a chance to photograph a sunset after a storm, go for it! The sunsets following storms tend to be dramatic and beautiful – all of that light streaming through the receding clouds can make for a spectacular light show.
3. Play with the White Balance
If the white balance is left on auto, there’s a chance that you will end up losing some of the vibrant, warm tones during the sunset. When photographing sunsets, you may need to ditch the auto balance in favor of the “shade” or “cloudy” setting. This will help to bring out the vibrant tones and add a warm cast to your image.
4. Capture Silhouettes
Sunset time is a great time to capture silhouettes. To photograph silhouettes, you’ll want to find a suitable subject – a person, or an object that has a clearly identifiable outline – like trees, blades of grass, or bridges. Then position them with the sun behind them. Use a faster shutter speed for a darker exposure.
5. Create Rays
Want to step up your sunset photography? Why not try getting creative and making the sun appear to have rays? Before the sun actually sets, set a narrow aperture of around f/22 and photograph the sun. The shape of the lens’ aperture will result in a distortion that produces rays of sun in the image, giving it a starburst effect. Pretty cool, huh? Just remember to protect your eyes; take care not to look directly at the sun through the lens.