It’s impossible not to love sunsets: nature itself paints the most magnificent image with the richest color palette, the clouds are glowing from the inside and otherwise plain surroundings look majestic. If you want to catch the beauty and make these incredible moments last forever, follow these simple sunset photography tips and your snaps will look outstanding! Show off your photography tips in a beautiful photo book – the best way to relive the great memories and enjoy the spectacular feelings again and again.
There are plenty of reasons to love summer: watermelons, pool parties, road trips, family reunions, barbecues… this list can go on. One of the things that we love most about summer is incredible sunsets. Follow these simple tips if you want the sunsets on your photos look as great as they look in real life.
1. Plan ahead.
Check the time when the sun sets and get to the location at least half an hour beforehand so that you have time to look around and set everything up. Watch out for the weather: dust and smoke can spoil your photos but a clear sky is also not the best option. The most interesting sunsets happen when the weather is changing. Some clouds in the sky will help you make magical shots: wait for the sun to hide behind them and spot beautiful sun rays shining through. Think of the equipment that you might need: a tripod, lenses that will give you a range of focal lengths, extra batteries and memory cards.
2. Find the perfect location.
First of all, you need to pick a good spot where you can enjoy the sunset in its glory. Try to find a place from where you can track the sun going down and sinking through the sky to the horizon, but also make sure that there is an interesting object in the foreground: a tree, a monument, a pier or anything else that will liven up the photo and add depth to the scene.
3. Don’t focus on the sun.
Sun has more value as a source of light, not the object – use it to the fullest! Look around and think which objects would look the best when the light is changing. For instance, instead of photographing the sun reflection in the sea, move your focus to the water splashing against a pier. Experiment with everything – the more photos you take the bigger the chances are that some of them turn out to be real masterpieces.
4. Use silhouettes as a focal point.
Try to include a silhouette in your shot – it will add mood and context. Whatever it is – a skyline, a monument, a tree or a person – the key to a good silhouette shot is to find a subject with recognizable shape and let the sun shine through it. Don’t let the silhouettes dominate your picture though, it shouldn’t take more than 30-40% of the photo.
5. Don’t place the horizon in the middle of the photo.
Remember the rule of thirds – place elements like the horizon, sun, objects off center. A good general rule is to put the horizon on the bottom third of the photo if the sky looks great and on the top third if the surroundings actually look prettier. Use a tripod to make sure that the horizon line is straight.
6. Set up your camera.
Or don’t and skip the technical tips below. Some proficiency in knowing these things is useful but not essential. It is mostly about being at the right time in the right place. Many cameras are pretty good at shooting sunsets in the “Auto” mode: so just relax and let your camera do the job. However, if you want to make sure that the photos look outstanding, consider doing following:
- Play with different exposures. When shooting a sunset, there is no “right” exposure. Different exposures will produce different results – change the settings, experiment and take a variety of shots.
- Set your ISO low. The sky at the sunset still gives quite a lot of light so keep the ISO at 100.
- Set your white balance. If you keep the white balance at “Auto, you are risking to lose some of the warm sunset tones. “Daylight” or “shade” settings can save the day here and bring the golden color even if the sunset itself is a bit pale.
- Make sure you use flash if you are shooting portraits, otherwise their faces will look dark and blurred.
7. Don’t rush.
Don’t leave right after the sun sets: usually, absolutely spectacular lighting happens 20-25 minutes after the main action. Many photographers consider twilight to be the most beautiful time of the day – the water on the lakes calm down, everything around is filled with peace and harmony – this is the time when magic happens.
8. Keep on shooting.
Whether you are shooting with a professional camera or with your phone, take plenty of photos. Try different settings and angles, edit the photos afterward, maybe even experiment with the filters. Good thing about summer – beautiful sunsets happen almost every day and you have plenty of time to practice.
9. Collect your best shots in a photo book.
You did an amazing job making all those incredible sunset shots – would be a shame to let them stock up on your hard drive. Show off your photography skills and print your pictures out in a beautiful photo book of your masterpieces.