Photographs are about capturing something: people, scenes, objects, events and nature. People we capture in portraits; scenes we capture as landscapes, street photography, sunrises and sunsets; objects we capture in micro- or macro photography and the objects can be of any size, from the very smallest to the largest such as an ant or a multi-storey building; events we capture as weddings, parties, conferences, sports, music competitions and the like; and we may simply be fascinated by capturing nature: forests, lakes, cloud formations, rainfall. Photographers take interest in one or many of these, specialize and share their expertise with the world.
Each focus has a technique and some neat tips that help produce that perfect picture that we are all looking for in a photograph, at the time you take it. Over time, I have come to love taking photos of sunsets, especially that crimson hue that lights up the sky just after the sun has set in the western horizon. In this post, I’d like to share some sunriset photography tips I have used to hone my skills in taking pictures. We consider scenery and the camera: what to do to get that picture perfect sunset photograph.
Choose An Interesting Scene And Capture The Sunset
Such sunsets can be beautiful to gaze on anywhere for the eye is able to isolate that beauty and place it in its purity in your mind. But it remains just that, a memory. The best is to capture it permanently in a photograph, in all its uniqueness for the next sunset will not be the same. So, for that appealing sunset picture, I have chosen scenes that are as free as possible of too many objects, power lines, buildings or electric poles, but with eye-catching foregrounds to make the picture interesting. I have chosen water in order to capture reflections of clouds hanging over it. I have sought after interesting silhouettes of a distant or nearby cow, person, tree or any object of interest.
Once I have identified the scene, I prepare my camera gear and wait for the sun to head toward the western horizon.
Some Sunset Photography Tips To Consider
- Set the camera dial to manual in order to take full control. That way you are likely to reproduce what you see before you exactly as you see it, with minimal post-production touch up. Oh yes, remember to take pictures in RAW if you intend to touch up your work afterwards. You may also want to choose a hot, cloudless day, though this is not essential.
- You are taking pictures facing the sun. So, set the ISO and shutter speed values as low as possible and use a tripod. The former to avoid undefined glare on the picture; and the latter to avoid tremor.
- Set the White Balance manually to “daylight” or “sunny” to preserve the blue color left in the sky as the sun sets; otherwise set to “cloudy” or “shade” if there is no blue sky. You may want to underexpose to get a richer crimson hue of the setting sun by closing down the f-stop to a higher value or by increasing the shutter speed by one stop.
- You have chosen that “perfect” scene. Now place in the scene something in the foreground that will make it interesting; something that will make the viewer linger for a little while such as a silhouette, a portraiture or a lit house on the edge of the horizon, or colorful, moving clouds reflected in water or a wet road. Place two-thirds of that in your frame and snap away.
The Essence Of Photography
Taking photos has techniques and tips that if practiced daily, like riding a bicycle or driving a car, becomes second nature and move you closer to being counted among the best. While photography is a serious and lucrative profession; it is also an art to enjoy and have fun doing it, for what you enjoy doing ceases to be or feel like work. So, break the rules sometimes to produce that pleasing picture to you.
You have chosen the scenery you want for the “perfect” sunset shot. Your gear is ready. Now, pick up your gear, set out to your scenery and wait for the sun to touch the western horizon. Take the best picture you have ever captured and relish the product!