Sunset Photography Tips – Scenery Is Key

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

Over the years I have traversed long distances of the South African countryside, Mostly, it has been late afternoon toward dusk, traveling westward as the sun approaches the horizon to disappear beneath it, leaving in its trail a rich hue that often paints the sky a lush orange, just before it disappears. As soon as it has set, it paints the sky and all beneath it with a blend of exquisite colors that last but for a minute. That fascinated me as a budding photographer and I have devoted some time capturing these scenes.

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 Clear Sunset Photoappealing 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

Some of us, especially the budding type photographer, like to set our cameras to “auto” in order never to miss that quick snap. That is very helpful in fleeting events or objects and people in motion. But this is not advisable when taking sunset or sunrise pictures. The “auto” mode does not capture the color before you quite as exactly as you want. In order to capture the rich colors before you, you need to take full control of the camera by applying the simple tips that follow below.
  • 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 inSunset Couple In Picture 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!

Author: Mojalefa

Father and grandfather. Semi-retired executive leadership coach and change management practitioner living in Pretoria East, Gauteng. I have had no less than forty years service in higher education both at teaching and executive levels and wish to plough back while the health and strength hold. I work consistently hard to attain this.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *