Top 5 tips for shooting a sunset


Discover how to capture a stunning sunset following our top 5 photography tips!

sunset wheel

1. Be prepared

It seems simple enough, but actually knowing when and where the sun will set requires a little research. The position and time of sunset will change over the course of the year so check out online websites like time and date for accurate details.

2. Lead in

When you’re composing your sunset shot, lead into the scene using strong points of interest within the foreground. At the beach lead in with a groyne or pier and in the countryside, trees or stonewalls.

3. Capture the colour

Remove your polarizing filter; it won’t help to enhance the sunset’s colours. For great colour results in camera, select your shade white balance setting, this will instantly help to enhance the warm light glow. If you’re shooting in RAW, you can continue to tweak your white balance later in Photoshop too.

4. Underexpose the light

To avoid blown-out highlights, underexpose your sunset by 1 or 2 stops. You’ll be able to brighten up and recover select areas of your image later in Photoshop using the curve tool and layer masks. More experienced shooters should try bracketing multiple exposures, which you can then blend together to increase dynamic range.

5. Wait a while

Don’t pack up as soon as the sun has dipped below the horizon, there’s still another half an hour or so of great light left to shoot. You won’t have direct light from the sun to contend with either and, the colours will start to settle from bright oranges to softer purple hues.

For more practical tips on shooting a sunset and the landscape in general, check out Digital Photographer issue 130 where we share 70 top tips on shooting through the seasons. It’s on sale now and available in hard copy or digitally for your Mac, PC, tablet or smartphone, or for your iDevices. Or you can save up to 30% of the cover price by subscribing – and you’ll always receive the mag before it’s in your local store!

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