Sunset Photography – How To Take Great Pictures
Everyone loves looking at gorgeous sunsets, which is why sunset photograhpy is so popular. If you want to take stunning sunset pictures, then here are some some simple techniques you can use to get photos that really stand out.
Sunset Photography Rule #1: Protect your Eyes and Camera
It is harmful to your eyes and your camera’s image sensor to point your camera directly at the sun. Using an optical zoom or long lens will magnify the sun’s damaging effects. Play it safe and get the better picture by waiting until the sun is sinking below the horizon or is a dark red.
Sunset Photography Rule #2: Capture the Color
Ever run out the door to photograph a brilliant sunset but then after uploading to your computer wonder what happened to those saturated, bright hues? Usually the culprit is the camera’s automatic white balance. While your human eyes appreciate those brilliant sunset yellows, oranges, magentas and blues, the camera’s automatic white balance tries to correct them, to dull them down so that they appear “normal.”.Here is what you can do to capture the true color:
If you have manual settings on your camera, turn off the auto white balance and set the white balance to the warm side.
If your camera has a color lens setting or you are shooting with an SLR or DSLR, try some shots with the red filter selected or attached.
Using a compact that doesn’t offer these manual settings? Really simple solution here: set it to sunset mode. This works for sunrises too. Sunset mode automatically sets the white balance to keep the warm shift in its color balance. Sunset mode also helps the camera use the best focus and exposure (with no flash) for this type of image.
None of the above? Use Landscape mode or automatic, and then use a photo editor to adjust the white balance to reflect the brilliant colors you know were there.
You may also want to play around with different exposure settings on your camera or you can use a photo editor to lighten or darken the tones. Be sure to make changes on copies, not the original!
Often a slower shutter speed will better capture the sunset; in this case, a tripod may be needed to steady your camera.
Sunset Photography Rule #3: Capture the Best Compositions
Use basic landscape photography techniques and patience to create stunning sunset pictures.
Not all sunsets make great photos. To get a remarkable sunset photo, you need a remarkable sunset. Clouds almost always make for more dramatic sunsets. These are often found with sunsets over large bodies of water.
Give yourself time to watch the sunset and wait for the really amazing pictures.
Take your sunset photos from vantage points that give you a composition free of clutter, such as power lines and buildings (unless the building is serving as a focal point for your photo).
Provide context and scale by composing your shots with something in the foreground such as silhouetted palms, a lone pine, a boat, a person. The sunset will almost always create the silhouettes, thus adding more drama to your sunset photography.
If the sky is the most dramatic part of the sunset, compose your picture so that two thirds of it is filled with sky. If the water’s reflection or silhouettes is the most interesting part of the picture, give this 2/3 of the picture’s frame.
Head to a beach where you’ll find some of the best sunset pictures. Here you can watch the sun set over the horizon and your pictures will have the colorful reflections from the water. Other good places include the desert and prairie where you also often can see the horizon and where the additional dust in the air adds to the color.
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