Week 6: Tips for Sunset

Sunset is a beautiful and popular subject for photographers of all skill levels. Here's this week's tips.

a year ago

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Sunset is a beautiful and popular subject for photographers. Whether you're a professional or an amateur, capturing the beauty of a sunset can be a rewarding experience.

This week I am struggling as with a challenge like this, we're at the mercy of mother nature. Winter in Western New York has been grey, rainy, and generally sunless. Back in January we went almost an entire month (dating back to December) without seeing the sun poke out. I've spoken to a few participants of the challenge and they too are struggling to capture a proper sunset, let alone find some Vitamin D. Tip number one should be: "live where there is plentiful sun" as the California participants aren't short of it. Care to share some of that with us out east?

Here are three tips to help you shoot stunning sunset photographs:

  1. Plan your shoot — Timing is everything when it comes to shooting sunsets. Make sure to arrive at your location early to scout for the best spot to set up your shot. This will also give you time to adjust your camera settings and composition before the sun begins to dip below the horizon. As a bonus, hang around after the sun dips below the horizon. Sometimes you'll experience an explosion in the sky, especially if there are wispy clouds to provide some texture.
  2. Expose for the highlights — Exposing for the highlights allows you to capture all the brilliant hues a sunset provides. If you're unsure what this means, it simply means making sure your highlights aren't overexposed and blown out. This will in turn darken your shadows significantly when shooting into the sun. Don't worry about capturing your shadows. More often than not, you can bring back your underexposed areas with photo editing applications, especially if you're shooting in RAW. If you're using a smartphone, they do a great job of balancing out an image with HDR-like features as well.
  3. Experiment with different compositions — Don't be afraid to get creative with your compositions. Try incorporating foreground elements like trees, buildings, or even people to add depth to your photos. Experimenting with different angles and perspectives can result in unique and eye-catching sunset photos.
Looking west on Lake Ontario — Nick Shaw
Looking west on Lake Ontario — Nick Shaw (Glass, Twitter)

Shooting sunset photographs can be a fun and challenging experience. By planning ahead, exposing for the highlights, and experimenting with different compositions, you'll be on your way to capturing beautiful sunset photos that you'll be proud to share. Happy shooting and good luck with this week's challenge.

Related: 52-week Photography Challenge

Nick Shaw

Published a year ago


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