View Full Version : Article: 6 Tips for Shooting Great Sunset Photos

03-29-2005, 06:25 AM
Here is an article I published on my website about the shooting sunset photos. I hope it'll be useful to some of you in this forum.

6 Tips for Shooting Great Sunset Photos
by Gary Hendricks

If you like taking sunset photos, youíre not alone. Many photographers I know love to take shots of sunsets. Perhaps its because they imbue a sense of peace in us. Perhaps theyíre a challenge to take given the same time window during which the sun sets. This article will show you some tips for shooting beautiful sunset photos.

A beautiful and scenic sunset photo

Tip 1: Get a Full View
When shooting sunsets, itís important to position yourself so that you get a full view of the sunset. An example is to perch yourself on a high point. Another good idea is to catch the sun reflecting off water. I also like to photograph the sun setting between the leaves of trees. Think about different, creative ways of viewing a sunset. It will help enhance the beauty of your shots.

Tip 2: Keep Shooting
Hereís another tip for shooting sunset photos. Keep shooting! This is very important because there is only a small time window during which the sun sets. Get in as many shots as you can and select the best. With practice, your sunset photos will start looking better and better.

Tip 3: Clouds
When shooting sunset photos, clouds make a nice backdrop. Clouds add color and texture to an otherwise uninteresting photo. Try to look for cloudy skies to add more variety and texture to your photos.

Tip 4: Shooting Off-Center
Another tip I recommend is to shoot the sun off-center. Itís not essential to keep the sun right in the center of the photo. You can position the horizon at bottom of the frame, so that you can highlight the sky, or perhaps focus on a subject in the foreground. Try this, you can get many interesting silhouette effects.

Tip 5: Use Multiple Exposure Settings
A good thing to try is to try multiple exposure settings. I use a technique called bracketing (which simply means shooting the same picture at different exposures) to get the best shot. If the picture is too bright, underexpose it and vice versa. To bring out details of a person in the foreground, try using the fill flash or night mode. Experimenting with exposure is very important for getting the best looking sunset photos.

Tip 6: Zoom In
Always bring along a telephoto lens when shooting sunsets. That way, if you suddenly have an urge to make the sun larger and more impressive, you can simply zoom in. Some of the best shots of sunsets Iíve seen are done with long focal lengths in this manner.

Sunset photos are a pleasure to take. However, they do pose challenges that are unique. Exposure settings can be tricky, and there is a limited time window to take your shots. Try to apply the above tips in your next sunset photo shoots Ė Iím sure youíll start getting better results. Happy shooting!

04-01-2005, 04:11 AM

The sunsets piece is a nice article. Is there any reason you did not mention the use of exposure compensation to enhance the colors?

Sarah Joyce

09-05-2011, 05:56 AM
I assume this works for Sunrises too? Also can focusing be an issue when shooting, given the contrast? This is my first time owning a DSLR, I have a Nikon D3100. I 'm going to be somewhere were previously I LOVE shooting sunrise pictures. And should i use a tripod or monopod? I have both. Any advise is welcome!

09-07-2011, 05:13 AM
This thread has been in comatose since April 2005. I assume the technique works for sunrise too of course.
Use a tripod over monopod if you have the space and time to fiddle with it.
Everything else just learn from trials and errors, that's your best teacher.