Most people relish the beauty of a setting sun. There is something comforting and calming when seeing the horizon and that sun go down for the night. Others find it hugely romantic, while some are just sad that it has gone away. No matter how you feel about the sunset, one thing is for sure, people love photographing it.
While your photos do not have to be postcard perfect, there are a few pointers that can help to make yours unique.
#1 – Under-Expose:
It is generally recommended that you under-expose a sunset. To some, this seems counter-intuitive because it is getting darker, but what actually happens is the dark of the lens brightens the light in the sun. It helps to define the details and makes the natural light stand out. A word of advice before someone sends an emails and asks… don’t use the sunset icon on your camera. It is an automatic function and takes away from your creativity.
#2 – Foreground Enhances Photo:
Getting the right foreground in a sunset can tell a story. Choosing the foreground is tricky, though, because if something is too large or too thick, the picture is no longer of the sunset. You need to be able to find something that is transparent, that lets the light shine through and around. An example would be a boat dock with pier stakes underneath. The airiness of the stakes make the foreground come to life and accentuates the sun in the sky or on the horizon.
#3 – Watch for the Clouds:
While the clouds will not be the focus of your pic, they will certainly enhance it. If you sit and watch the clouds going by, you will find that the sun looks different. There will be hazy parts, circles around the sun and glowing streaks. The clouds moving by give an added dimension to the photo. Just be sure that you don’t get so caught up in finding the right cloud formation, that you miss the setting sun.
#4 – Position the Horizon:
Taking photos of people in a sunset starts out as a beautiful thing, but often ends up in a disappointing pic for the album. Thought must go into how the people look up against the horizon, but the best way to handle this is by setting the horizon at the person’s chest or stomach area. For some reason, everyone ends up with the horizon at the neck and the photo seems quite awkward to look at.
#5 – Wait for the Sun Below the Horizon:
I’ve talked to other people at conventions and community classes and many of them tell me that some of the best shots can be taken after the sun goes down. Usually within that half-hour window. I have never taken any myself, but apparently, the colors are spectacular and you can really get something unique. Most people miss this, as they leave as soon as the sun falls below the horizon.
One last note when shooting photos during a sunset. Remember to remove your sunglasses. It seems like an odd request, but the glasses will make your picture too dark. You can’t see the right light.
I like when people in videos show exactly what they are saying. This guy from Australia tells you what to do, shows you as he talks, and then lets us see the final product which is a beautiful sunset.