12 Tips for Photographing Stunning Sunsets - Digital Photography School

12 Tips for Photographing Stunning Sunsets

‘No good travel photo album is complete without the token sunrise or sunset picture!’

12 Tips for Photographing Stunning Sunsets

Many travelers seem to live by this mantra – however most sunset and sunrise photographs that I see are quite disappointing.

Sunset

They need not be – sunsets and sunrises are not that difficult to photograph!

Tips for Photographing Stunning Sunrises and Sunsets

Think Ahead - While sometimes wonderful sunrise and sunset shots can be taken spontaneously without any forethought it’s often the case that the best ones come out of planning. Scope out places that might be good for sunsets in the day or two before your shoot. Look for interesting places where you might not only be able to see the sun track all the way down but where there will be opportunities for shots that include foreground elements and silhouettes. Sunsets only take half an hour or so so you want to think about these elements before they start or you might miss the shots you’re after.

Sunset-2

Find out when the sun will set or rise and get there at least half an hour before hand as it’s often in the lead up to and the time after the sun appears or disappears that the real magic happens.

Keep an eye on the weather also. There are a variety of different types of sunsets that produce a range of different types of lights and patterns in the sky. Don’t just go for clear days for these shots – while they can produce some wonderful colors it’s usually the times where there is cloud around that the real action happens! Also be aware of days when there is dust or smoke in the air as they can produce amazing results also.

Consider ahead of time what equipment you might need. Include a tripod, lenses that will give you a range of focal lengths, extra batteries etc.

Composition Techniques

Shoot at a variety of focal lengths – wide angle can create sweeping landscape shots but if you want the sun itself to be a feature of the shot you’ll want to be able to zoom right in.

Keep in mind that the sun is just half a degree across so when you shoot with a wide lens it will only be taking up a reasonably small part of the photo. If you want it to be a feature of your shot you’ll need to zoom in on it using anything from a 200mm lens upwards. This will increase your need for a tripod!

Also be aware that when you look at the sun at the best of times it can be dangerous but when you look through a magnifying lens it can be quite dangerous is the sun is still too high in the sky.

Sunset-3

Silhouettes as focal points - As with all photos, sunsets need a point of interest and one of the best ways to add one to a picture is to try to incorporate some sort of Silhouette into the shot. This could be something large like a mountain range, something that is part of the environment like a palm tree or a pier or could even be a person.

The great things about Silhouettes is that they add mood and context to a sunset or sunrise shot. I’ll write more on silhouettes in a future article.

Rule of thirds – Remember the rule of thirds in your photographing of sunrises and sunsets. While you can always break the rule it’s often a good idea to place elements like the horizon, sun, silhouettes etc off centre.

Exposure Techniques

Shoot at a variety of exposures - if you let your camera decide what shutter length to shoot at you’re likely to get a shot that doesn’t really capture the beauty of the light. Quite often the shot will be under exposed because the sky is still reasonably light.

Instead of relying upon the camera’s auto mode a sunset is an ideal time to switch your camera into aperture or shutter priority mode and to take a variety of shots at different exposures.

The great thing about sunsets and sunrises is that there is no one ‘right’ exposure and that you can get stunning results using a variety of them. Also keep in mind that different exposures (aperture and shutter speeds) will produce a variety of different results so it’s worth taking more than just a few shots – the key is to experiment.

I tend to switch into shutter priority mode and start with a relatively quick shutter speed and then slowly work down to slower ones.

Sunrise-2

Bracketing – Another technique to try to get the right exposure is ‘bracketing’ where you look at what the camera suggests you take the picture at and then take a few shots at both under and over that mark. ie if your camera says to shoot at 1/60th of a second at f/8 you would shoot off a shot at 1/60 at f/5.6 and then at f/11. In doing so you end up with a series of shots at different exposures which will all give you slightly different results and colors. Most DSLR’s and some point and shoot digital cameras have a built in bracketing feature so you don’t need to do this manually – learn how to use it!

Auto Exposure Lock - Another exposure trick, if you don’t have a bracketing mode or don’t feel confident in using it is if your camera has ‘auto exposure lock’ which allows you to point your camera at a darker place and lock in exposure for that spot (ie you could point it at the ground in front of you and lock in that exposure) and then reframe the picture looking at the sunset. This will mean you get a more over exposed shot.

Take camera out of Auto White balance mode – when you set your camera to ‘Auto’ in it’s white balance mode you run the risk of losing some of the warm golden tones of a sunrise or sunset. Instead try shooting in ‘cloudy’ or ‘shade’ which are usually used in cooler lights and tell your camera to warm things up a little. Alternatively – if you’re shooting a sunrise and DO want a cooler moody shot you can experiment with other white balance settings.

Other Sunset and Sunrise Tips

Sunrise

Tripod – If you’re shooting at longer shutters speeds and with longer focal lengths then a tripod or some other way of ensuring your camera is completely still is essential.

Manual Focus – sometimes when shooting in extreme lighting conditions some cameras can have trouble focussing. If this is the case for your camera consider switching to manual focus to ensure you get nice crisp shots.

Look around you – The wonderful thing about sunsets is that they not only create wonderful colors in the sky in front of you but they also can cast a beautiful golden light that is wonderful for other types of photography. As the sunset progresses keep an eye on other opportunities for shots around you (not just in front of you). You might find a great opportunity for a portrait, landscape shot, macro shot etc behind you in the colden light.

Keep Shooting – A sunset or sunrise constantly changes over time and can produce great colors well after the sun goes down or appears so keep shooting at different exposures and focal lengths as I’ve mentioned above until you’re sure it’s all over.

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Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

  • Kalikota Prasad

    One of my shots I love most

  • jay

    Superb!

  • jay

    Very lovely and sweet… nice to have a date with someone u love!

  • jay

    Nice reflection. how did you do this? Exif file please. thanks

  • jay

    Very cool!!!

  • Paul Summers

    Thanks Jay. I always have my camera ready and I was out one evening fishing and the sky and the reflection was just beautiful and I grabbed my camera and was able to capture it. Glad you like it.

    Here’s the info:
    Camera: Canon Rebel XTi

    F-Stop: f/5.6

    Exposure time: 2/25 sec.

    ISO Speed: ISO-400

    Exposure Bias: 0 Step

    Focal Length: 35mm

    Max Aperature: 4

    Metering Mode: Pattern

    No flash

    Hope that helps.

  • Aneeta R Madhok

    Took this picture last week on a walk down the promenade in Mumbai, India.

  • Aneeta R Madhok

    Took this picture while on my evening walk down the promenade. Mumbai, India

  • Aneeta R Madhok

    At the promenade in Mumbai, India. Last week.

  • kalladikode

    photoshop

  • Paul Summers

    No. It wasn’t photoshopped. This picture was exactly as it came off the camera. This was actually taken in jpeg not RAW format so doing much of anything with it would be pretty hard to do. Besides that, I don’t own photoshop, just Lightroom.

  • Dock

    Pensacola Beach, January 2014

  • Guest

    This sunset I captured from my house’s balcony…

  • Guest

    This sunset photo I captured from my house’s balcony.

  • Bibekananda saikia

    Sunset in Nagaon,India on 10 jun 2014.

  • http://www.oscarmalo.com MaloFX

    Took this with my iPhone…

  • Anne

    Beautiful!

  • Paul Summers

    Thank you Anne.

  • Robin Newman

    Was photoshopped but as I an new to the camera thing and only second time out I didnt think i did that badly

  • Carl Stephens

    This is one of my favorites.

  • Carl Stephens

    This one is from last night.

  • Carl Stephens

    ….

  • Carl Stephens

    Try this again

  • pd

    We have smoke in the Boise area due to the forest fires. The sun was a brilliant red this evening. I attached one of my photos. The sun was visibly truly red. Yet, no matter what settings or white balance I try, I always come up with a white sun on these pictures from all my cameras. Have you photographed a red sun, and if so how did you get that effect, or have you used software to get that effect?

Some older comments

  • marius2die4

    September 20, 2013 06:45 am

    Nice tips!

    Some of my pics:
    http://marius-fotografie.blogspot.ro/2013/07/lacul-cu-nuferi-termali-din-baile-1-mai.html

  • Yvonne Price

    September 9, 2013 11:27 pm

    Thank you so much for this informative article. I'm just a beginner with photography and have not yet tried to use my camera in anything but auto mode. However, this article, has inspired me to go out and play with the various capabilities that my little point and shoot camera has.

  • Pat Vantuyle

    August 20, 2013 07:41 pm

    Your own post has confirmd neessary to me.It's quite informative nd you are obviously very educated in this field.u get popped my eye to different opinionof this particular to

  • mantas

    July 26, 2013 09:46 pm

    My sunrise
    http://500px.com/photo/33228953
    visit
    All about photography

  • George

    March 1, 2013 02:50 pm

    My advice for photographing sunsets is to NEVER leave the sunset spot prematurely! I have experienced some of the most phenomenal sunsets that only started 15 minutes after the sun was down. The best I have ever seen occurred when it was extremely cloudy and the sunset time had passed with absolutely no color. About 10 minutes after the setting time the horizon exploded a deep blood red color, it was superb.

  • HarryReid

    February 8, 2013 09:22 pm

    I read your post, I found it very helpful.

    As i think personally, a tripod is essential for sunset photography as small apertures can mean longer exposure times and hand-holding the shot can result in shake. You need a strong tripod that offers stability but if it's too heavy it'll be hard to carry. A model such as those you'll find in Vanguard's Alta Pro range, which includes the award-winning Alta Pro 263AT, are ideal as they are light-weight but have features such as spiked feet to keep your tripod fixed and steady. They also have a Multi-Angle Central Column (MACC) System which allows users to move the central column from zero to 180-degree angles in variable vertical and horizontal positions which gives you more shooting options.

    And sharp and a small aperture setting is the simplest way.

  • alfred

    January 16, 2013 10:47 pm

    I have seen a beautiful sunrise, but the problem that day I didn't bought my camera so I miss that I moment I and regret it.

  • Scottc

    October 23, 2012 08:27 am

    Another favorite subject!

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lendog64/8088031104/

  • Neha shaw

    September 25, 2012 03:57 am

    n one more of my fav...
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/nehashaw/6978973037/in/photostream

  • Neha shaw

    September 25, 2012 03:52 am

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/nehashaw/7800518184/in/photostream

  • Mike

    August 26, 2012 11:00 am

    Fantastic article. I just recently bought a reverse graduated 3-stop ND filter. Works great for sunrise and sunset.

    You warn us to be careful about about our eyes when shooting sunrises and sunsets. But how does one safely compose, focus, and expose for these kind of shots? I take quick furtive glaces in the viewfinder but I'm still concerned about frying my retinas. Is live view the only safe technique? How prevalent is retina burn amongst photographers?

  • Sachin Verma

    June 10, 2012 09:43 pm

    Nice tips :)
    http://www.photo-roll.com/2012/04/the-virtual-sun/

  • ashwins

    May 2, 2012 11:21 pm

    Here's the right link:

    http://i.imgur.com/m6yWa.jpg

  • Ashwins

    May 2, 2012 10:36 pm

    From Bahia Feliz, Gran Canaria:

    http://i.imgur.com/aQw5g.jpg

  • Pamela

    April 14, 2012 02:56 pm

    Thanks for the advice. I can't wait to try it out tomorrow. I'll actually be attempting a sunrise, but from what I've read the advice is generally the same.

  • cours de photo

    March 15, 2012 08:14 pm

    The photo of Jenny G is stunning I really love the variety of colours here ! The reflexion in the water also are amazing.

  • MustGoFaster

    February 18, 2012 07:38 am

    Great article!
    Pre visualizing as well as planing using the Photographers Ephemeris enabled me to capture this image:
    [eimg url='http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6031/6322281962_09c702be9d_m.jpg' title='6322281962_09c702be9d_m.jpg']

  • anand pathak

    February 15, 2012 05:42 pm

    Hello,

    Gr8 Tips. when we shoot that kind of photos, we can not consider all the tips & tech.
    All the above tips give a tech. good and big view for best sunset and sunrise photo shoot.

  • Raj

    January 27, 2012 04:00 am

    I have a basic P&S camera. I wanna know how to capture the full globe of the sun. When I point at the sun, it shows only the core!

  • Aldrin Thomas Gaine

    November 30, 2011 05:05 pm

    Thank you for nice tips. I am trying....

  • Jim Zielinski

    November 30, 2011 03:58 am

    Thanks for the great collection of tips. I've been practicing some sunrises on the beach and will be sure to try the bracketing suggestion on my next trip.

  • Manoj vivek

    November 29, 2011 01:36 am

    hello B Jay,
    I too use Nokia 5233, i tried to make HDR many times but haven't succeeded yet,, may i know which application you are using for combining??

    Please make a reply,,
    email id: pmanojvivek@gmail.com

  • pokkisam

    November 23, 2011 10:37 pm

    Some tips are very useful. Here are 45 Amazing Sunset pictures http://www.blog.pokkisam.com/content/everlasting-most-beautiful-sunset-pictures

  • Scotjack

    November 7, 2011 01:33 am

    Perhaps it's so obvious that it does not need to be said, but for those new to photography (I have over 50 years experience in all aspects) it should be said that sunset and sunrise shots, although dramatic and spectacular, are not true records of what the eye saw.
    Unless carefully balanced, this is actually true for all photographs shot against the light - it is just more obvious for glorious "sunset" shots. I have taken many myself, and revel in the praise - but I know they they are almost a fraud. What I hate most is when a dramatic "sunset" with liquid-gold seas, or impossibly crimson skies, wins a photographic competition, relegating true masterpieces to a lower position.
    Don't get me wrong, sunsets, per se, are sometimes spectacularly beautiful, but the photographs we take of them, are not an accurate record.

  • Abhijit Chowdhury

    October 23, 2011 05:34 pm

    Some very useful tips. Thanks a lot. Loved the concept of using silhouettes.

  • Prophoto - Wedding Photography

    September 29, 2011 11:01 pm

    Love turning some sunset photos into black & white.

    http://www.prophoto.com.au/wedding-photography-booking.html

  • Prophoto - Wedding Photography

    September 29, 2011 10:53 pm

    Love turning some sunset photos into black & white.

    http://www.prophoto.com.au/img/wedding-photographer-perth.jpg

  • Marc Mason

    September 29, 2011 08:37 pm

    Sigh...since the link didn't post:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/38204241@N08/6183165549/

  • Marc Mason

    September 29, 2011 08:36 pm

    I still don't know what is up with posting a picture on here....LOL
    Anyway I love it when there are sparse clouds between the rising/setting sun and your vantage point. Makes for some beautiful sunrays!

  • Dewan Demmer

    September 29, 2011 04:27 pm

    OK since previous post seems to have fallen down some post hole.
    I somehow always seem to miss sunsets, at that time of day I am usually rushing somewhere, odd time to be rushing but alas.
    I do remember years ago when I was rushing less and seeing all the really interesting sunsets, wishing I had a camera on hand, oh well.
    One thing I have tried is bracketing, honestly I have dont know how to use it to its proper portential, but someday I will learn. Bracketing is on my list of techniques and photo things to learn, its a long list and getting longer.

    Now it would seem the only time I ever get to photograph sunsets is when I am on holiday, I suppose I then have time to smell the roses and see the sunset.
    Here is the one photo I have of sunset, I dont mind it but a lot of my friends thinks its great, they obviously know what to look for ...
    http://dsdphotography.co.za/what-is-in-a-rose/

  • ccting

    September 29, 2011 11:06 am

    Great horizon level composition!! I love it.

  • Scottc

    September 29, 2011 08:39 am

    One of several great articles I've seen on DPS for sunset photography.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lendog64/4760597634/

  • Dave

    September 29, 2011 01:08 am

    Great tips. I love Sunset and Sunrise photos. It sounds like it should be easy, but it's not. Not every sunset is spectactular and it's hard to predict which ones are going to be worth shooting.

    Like the article says, look around you. Not only is the sunset beautiful, but the light it shines on other objects makes them beautiful. I've got a picture of a Pelican floating in golden colored water. The colors on the Pelican itself are different than they would normally be. I've actually got several pictures from that series with the water in different stages of changing color. The sunset itself was disappointing, but the colors it threw on everything else made them photo worthy.

  • Fuzzypiggy

    September 28, 2011 05:32 pm

    Well said Simon ( above ), the Ephemeris is a superb tool and worth paying the developer for his time either by donation or buying the iPhone app.

    Being in the UK, I have the BBC Weather, the BBC tide times and Google maps as primary bookmarks in my browser. The Ephemeris on the PC desktop and paid for version on my iPhone ( the only iPhone app I have ever paid for! ) .

    Perfect tools for finding spots a few days in advance.

  • Simon Lunn

    September 28, 2011 05:16 pm

    If you have an iPhone get the Photographers Ephemeris app it let's you put a pin in the map location and it shows you were the sunrise, sunset, moonrise and moon set at that location on and day/time very handy app

  • Greg

    September 28, 2011 12:16 pm

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/gregnboutz/5533219696/

  • Greg

    September 28, 2011 12:14 pm

    [eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/gregnboutz/5533219696/' title='09-16-10 DPP_822' url='http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5180/5533219696_48e711d06a.jpg']

  • Greg

    September 28, 2011 12:12 pm

    They're good tips and some cameras have good sunset modes also. I usually use a T2i, but this was taken with a FinePix S8100fd in a sunset mode.

  • Sourav

    September 28, 2011 11:39 am

    https://plus.google.com/photos/101709056867350813283/albums/5641535748515134433/5641535775175850514

  • Swampy

    September 25, 2011 09:46 am

    Taken in Paihia, NZ 02/04/2011
    Nikon D90
    Lens VR 16 - 85 F3.5-5.6G
    ISO 400
    F/11
    1/2000s

  • Swampy

    September 25, 2011 09:35 am

  • John c

    September 25, 2011 09:16 am

    Great information. Ill be taking a few pics of both sunrise and sunsets.

  • BobWood

    September 25, 2011 04:23 am

    Great article and very good responses. Thanks!

  • Don M.

    September 24, 2011 03:29 am

    Thank you Darren Rowse for the wonderful sunset tips. It always amazes me when I'm showing off some of my photographic work how many people wiz right past some down right fantastic macro shots and become transfixed on the sunset/sunrise photographs. At first I would go back and point out some of the details that might have been overlooked in the macro pictures and would hear comments like "thats nice" but now I just allow nature to run it's course. Once again Mr rowse has inspired me to find new points of interest that might produce a fantastic sunset. Thank you. Don M.

  • Dee Luxford

    September 23, 2011 10:08 pm

    I took this photo in Charlevoix, MI in Aug

  • Dee Luxford

    September 23, 2011 10:07 pm

    This is one of my favorites from Charlevoix, Mi

  • Adrian

    September 23, 2011 10:22 am

    If you are looking for good examples of sunrise sunsets look at the shots on Flickr.
    One thing I tend to disagree with is the rule of thirds, in some respects this is old hat. I believe if it looks good and you are happy with it go with it, as a member of a local photographic club we find some judges still apply this rule when judging, but as I said if the shot is sharp, interesting and all other factors are OK this should not be a factor in judging. I do believe the theory that the eye travels over a photo from left to right.

  • rd

    September 23, 2011 08:07 am

    Peter Bowers image is stunning. I've done my share of sunrise/sunsets. they are just too ubiquitous and often dreary. I don't even take my camera in the mornings anymore (I get better sunrises here than sunsets) because while the cloud formations that make a good sunrise may change - it's really just the same old hack. I have a whole folder of colored skies on the Imagekind site.

  • wayne west

    September 23, 2011 07:11 am

    i've found that odd numbers rule in photography. the golden triangle of aperture/shutter speed / iso speed in making a good photo comes to mind 1st. in composition the rule of thirds. 3 or 5 people or objects like trees - rocks etc. you shoot morning - noon - night but the second time noon [2] is not so good. it goes on and on like that for me. i'm glad i'm not alone in this finding.

  • Bryan

    September 23, 2011 07:05 am

    Capture not just one special moment but the entire sunset. Set the camera on a tripod attach a intervalometer and take not one single picture but rather 1 picture every 3-8 seconds from 20 minutes before to 20 minutes after sunset with the camera set on aperture priority. At the end of the shoot you will have serval hundred beautiful images from which to choose that special one. Plus you can easily turn the collection into a cool time lapse movie.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/bryan_woodard/6081739604/in/photostream

  • Kathy Camet

    September 23, 2011 05:40 am

    I just got back from Bristlecone Pine Forest, Mt. Whitney and Mono Lake. It's so beautiful over there. I got some sunrise photos.

  • Adam Goyette

    September 22, 2011 01:16 am

    That is a great article. Being in Chicago, I plan on heading down to lake Michigan this weekend and try some of these techniques out.

  • Darren Rowse

    September 21, 2011 02:15 pm

    Trevon - if you've see it somewhere before its because it's been republished by other sites (without permission) many times. We originally posted this post a number of years ago here on dPS and have updated it for this reposting but you're right - it has been republished elsewhere a number of times - sometimes with other people's names as the author unfortunately.

  • Diane

    September 17, 2011 11:44 am

    I have mine when we had the wildfire going and the smoke fill the cloud along with the sunset. Look at it... :)

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/7363677@N04/6109757657/

  • Paul Broderick

    September 17, 2011 06:32 am

    Thanks for the tips Darren, and I agree whole heartedly when you say add silhouettes as a focal point. I summered on the west facing shore of Cape Cod and got a few good shots of a sun setting over the bay with Plymouth on the horizon. I figuterd out on the fly that adding silhouettes made the photos better.
    Thanks for the tipe about White balance and Focus Lock.
    Here are two of the better images:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/paulbroderick/6051273026
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/paulbroderick/6046463932/in/photostream/

  • ErikKerstenbeck

    September 17, 2011 01:41 am

    Hi

    Here is a wonderful sunset from La Jolla, California! Tripod and remote release were used, slow shutter

    http://kerstenbeckphotoart.wordpress.com/2011/05/05/sunset-in-la-jolla/

  • Jason St. Petersburg Photographer

    September 17, 2011 12:57 am

    Living on the west coast of Florida, the one good, consistent subject matter we have to photograph are sunsets. In my work I have the opportunity to photograph sunsets in a variety of ways, as the background to a beach wedding portrait, for fine art HDR shots, etc.

    http://jasoncollinphotography.com/blog/tag/sunset

    My recent favorite was when a local guitarist wanted to have a beach sunset scene for his album cover. He said, "I am going to start playing, just take photos." Loved hearing that and having a totally candid subject to just photograph as I wished.

  • Rohan Thacker

    September 17, 2011 12:10 am

    Keep these in mind guys. I went out this morning please take a look at some of the results.



  • Richard Taylor

    September 16, 2011 11:53 pm

    Maybe you have seen it here where it appears to be published a couple of years after the publication on DPS

    http://www.ujenanetwork.com/n1locationgp.html

  • Trevon Donoho

    September 16, 2011 10:29 pm

    Why do I feel like this article was plagiarized... I know I've seen it somewhere before.

  • Fuzzypiggy

    September 16, 2011 05:32 pm

    Great advice about turning around and looking behind you. I am always amazed what happens all around you when the sun rays starts messing about with atmosphere, the colour changes in the clouds, the rocks and plants.

    One of the rare treats in life that is 100% free!

  • B Jay

    September 16, 2011 02:49 pm

    Sorry! The image is here... http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6191/6152163798_089926c8dc_z.jpg

  • B Jay

    September 16, 2011 02:40 pm

    As I don't have a dedicated camera, I use a cameraphone. So I'm stuck with f/2.8 aperture and 3.7mm focal length. And 2MP resolution. I use a Nokia 5233/5228. I've tried many settings to get a sunset shot as natural as possible but the most effective was HDR photography. (Bracketed and combined in the smartphone) as my PC is dead.
    This is the resultant image and it is almost natural. There was no red sunset in reality.

  • Bill (wsbII)

    September 16, 2011 12:44 pm

    Darren,
    Great article. I love to shoot sunsets, but sometimes get in a rut with them and can't seem to break out of it. I love your tips on bracketing and also using different focal lengths. I'll have to combine that with some recent tips to shoot in one focal length for a bit that i don't use often and see how it works with sunsets.

    I do have to agree with one point that you made int he beginning that just can't be understated. The clouds are what make a sunset. I've included an example where the composition is not fabulous and there is nothing in the foreground,but the clouds make the shot.

    link here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/billboydphotography/4743918151/

  • Craig A. Mullenbach

    September 16, 2011 11:22 am

    Something interesting in the foreground is a good way to make a sunset interesting.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/mully410/4705407714/in/set-72157624409995018/lightbox/

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/mully410/6067449227/in/set-72157624409995018/lightbox/

  • Scottc

    September 16, 2011 10:26 am

    Sunrises and sunsets are more difficult than I ever thought, this article provides solid advice with the exemplary photos to match.

    My own efforts at these have been a bit dissappointing, it does take more effort than most beginners may realize.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lendog64/5794645246/

  • Ansley Braverman

    September 16, 2011 10:03 am

    Thanks for the tip - I had never thought of including a silhouette, but the two examples you show in this post are proof at how it enhances the sunset.

  • Simon

    September 16, 2011 09:57 am

    Great tips, thanks Darren.

  • Kiran @ KiranTarun.com

    September 16, 2011 09:43 am

    Great tips! Seems like I have a ton to learn about sunrise and sunset settings.

  • Verena

    September 16, 2011 09:06 am

    I think the best sunset scenes are the ones that are not so obvious. A sunset can be pretty dull, since they're on every post card and a common relatively easy to photograph moment. I've taken many pictures of sunsets and none of it I really found interesting apart from this unusual one:

    http://experimentsinexperience.wordpress.com/2011/09/10/surreal-sunset/

  • Sara

    September 16, 2011 08:10 am

    I've always loved taking photos. It wasn't until a year ago I really took up more interest and this year I finally got my first dSLR, a birthday present from my husband! I love this website and your tips are always so helpful. Learned something new too, bracketing and auto-focus lock, gonna have to look into these. I'm printing this article out for future reference so I don't lose it. Great stuff! Thanks :)

  • Donna Ford

    September 16, 2011 08:01 am

    Thanks for posting this article. I have some photos that I have taken with my point and shoot on auto, and I think they came out beautifully........On the other hand I have taken photos with my Vivitar 35 mm camera and can't get the same with my point and shoot. Could you please tell me what I am doing wrong?
    Thanks

  • Jerry

    September 16, 2011 06:56 am

    http://www.nineiris.com/rainbowpanosmall.jpg

  • gaurav

    June 22, 2011 10:12 pm

    red/brown dot -- may be you have put your flash on...

    - gaurav

  • kishorat

    June 22, 2011 05:02 pm

    before reading this article, I try to capture senset yesterday, the longest day of the year 2011. I am new to photography and never used mannual mode. But I have taken sunset in manual mode because Auto did not satisfied me. I try to capture with different shutter speed, and aparture, changing and changing!!! out of 25-30 shoots, I found only a few satisfactory, and one more satisfactory!!! In many snaps, I find a small red/brown dot, may I know why?

    for the best one (only for me), click here!
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/kishorat/5857722411/in/photostream

    Now I read this article, very nice and practical. Next time, I will increase my efficiency!!!

  • Ana

    June 22, 2011 07:42 am

    This helped me. But it did not answer my questions. I got some great shots of sunrises a couple of months ago. But I really think it would be great bracketed. But I followed the instructions in my manual and online, falling short in the end.

    So I looked to you for more answers, do you have more on bracketing? Someone said what I am missing is the post-editing part of this exercise.

  • gaurav

    June 16, 2011 02:23 pm

    Very nice article.
    Just to share that you can also set the white balance to direct sunlight to get actual results.
    If possible use Adobe colors instead of sRGB as it has wider range of colors.
    Most important point is the "Rule of Thirds".. It gives awesome results. If you are using a Nikon D90 or equivalent i suggest to use grid lines in the view finder and place the sun at the intersection of the below line, you will surely get good results.
    njoy shooting...

  • Fotocat

    February 7, 2011 01:49 am

    Thanks for the article.
    A noob question:
    How do you makes sure you don't damage camera's sensor or your eyes while shooting a rising sun?
    Thanks!

  • David

    December 5, 2010 04:21 am

    Did anyone ever answer the questions posed by Dave (12/4/09) and Hugh Campbell (10/13/09)? I have the same problem. First with my Canon SX100, now with a brand-new Pentax k-r. Not only sunsets, but any photo of the sky toward the west at or just after sundown will produce garish, cartoony yellow, when there was no yellow in the actual scene. I'd love to catch the real scene, with pinks and reds and pale blues. I will be very grateful for any advice on how to fix this problem. I shoot Manual and I've tried every change I can think of, including WB. I don't want to use the automatic Sunset Scene setting, because this also controls speed and aperture, which doesn't allow me to capture flying gulls. (There's plenty of light for silhouettes, which is what I want--but not blurred by slow shutter.)
    Please feel free to contact me at drwin@sbcglobal.net.

  • Erik Kerstenbeck

    November 11, 2010 04:53 am

    This is a great article. Having a tripod is almost mandatory in the fading light. I always try to maximize depth of field and keep hyperfocal distance in mind to capture the most from the scene. Often it is not necessary to have the sunset be the star of the show. http://tinyurl.com/2w5ydow

  • Al

    August 14, 2010 12:58 am

    BEAUTIFUL picture Jenni!

    I would be curious to know the information re: the picture (f stop, ISO, etc., etc.) and if you've got any others posted at your website.

  • Jenni

    August 13, 2010 08:28 am

    I spent a month in Key Largo on the bayside. I went down to the dock almost every day with my camera and got a HUGE range of sunset shots. Thanks for the tips, cant wait to shoot more sunsets :) Just wanna share my favorite one!

    [eimg url='http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs018.snc4/34278_1441996963809_1049637432_31222839_176591_n.jpg' title='34278_1441996963809_1049637432_31222839_176591_n.jpg']

  • Bruce

    July 5, 2010 03:55 am

    Part of the joy of photography is also enjoying the moment of capture. I highly recommend having your favorite beverage available and arriving at your location before picture time to enjoy the gradual chnaes in lighting that occur as the sun approaches the horizon. Happy Shooting!

  • Tiberman Sajiwan Ramyead

    June 1, 2010 07:56 am

    Me too - thank you Darren. Well, I got the first reasonable sunset shots of my life yesterday, using the 12 tips, almost literally; particularly the exposure settings. The sun was setting above a pristine cemetery by the sea. My great-great-grandparents rest there (1893, 1896). The photos will be for a book I am writing, and so I must try and try and try again. Any tips for photos meant to be published in books, please?
    Tiberman - Mauritius

  • Mike

    May 23, 2010 02:32 pm

    Thanks Darren for the great tips! We just returned from Hawaii and all those beautiful red suns came out white on my D5000. Wish I'd read your advise BEFORE vacation :)
    Thx again, Mike

  • sara

    May 16, 2010 08:14 am

    thanks! this was very helpful

  • Erica

    May 15, 2010 03:10 am

    I am pretty new at this and still on auto but I really like taking pictures. I caught this one while at the park but I know it could have been better. any suggestions?[eimg url='http://i86.photobucket.com/albums/k81/ericazdj/City%20Park%20Portsmouth/DSC_0614.jpg' title='DSC_0614.jpg']

  • Al

    February 20, 2010 01:04 pm

    This may seem like a silly question in so much as there are countless shots of beautiful sunrises/sunsets, but..... a number of times in my manual (Canon XSi) mention is made to "not point the camera at the sun as it can cause damage". Can I assume that this refers to when the sun is higher in the sky, and shooting a sunrise or sunset will not damage the camera, and is safe even without a filter?

  • Matt

    January 31, 2010 08:05 am

    Definately use lowest (standard, not pushed) ISO and also definately avoid any filters when sun is in shot, it can ruin all your hard work. Using remote release or timer helps avoid movement too. Scope scene prior to day of sunrise, sometimes the perfect light is only there for moments so plan your composition in advance. ANd in the winter months TAKE GLOVES.

  • vincent

    January 29, 2010 04:33 pm

    Thanks alot for sharing the tips. Will start straight away

  • Benz

    January 18, 2010 10:49 pm

    This photoblog has details on photoshop layers used to bring out the colours in sunsets.

  • Andy

    December 31, 2009 10:37 am

    Thnx for the tips. Used them during my trip to Seam Reap with breathtaking sunset shots on Tonle Sap with the fishermen's boat silhouetted on the horizon. For the very first time, I was impressed and proud of my shots.

  • Jason

    December 20, 2009 10:10 pm

    Thankyou for the advice Darren. You have some great shots. I cheated a bit and used Photoshop to bring the reds back in my image.

    http://jason.bennee.com/wordpress/2009/12/stunning-sunset/

  • Dave

    December 4, 2009 08:07 am

    PLEASE HELP!
    I am looking to see if anyone can tell me of a digital camera that actually captures brilliant red as RED. Every picture I've ever seen of sunsets looks orange. When I take pictures of bright reds, they come out orange at best, but usually are just yellow. I have several pictures of sunsets with ZERO yellow in the actual environment, but the sunset comes out ALL yellow! Aaargh! (This is using multiple cameras.) I guess it must be an artifact of the sensors in digital cameras, unless the IR filter cuts the deep reds out? Even with editing and white balance tweaked, everything still comes out yellow (or something of a brownish orange in the dimmer red -almost purple- parts).
    Does ANYONE know of a digital camera that DOESN'T do this?! So far, the Fujifilm (it figures) camera seems to have the best red detection that I've seen, but it still has this problem with the brightest reds...
    Thank you in advance...

  • Hugh Campbell

    October 13, 2009 01:05 pm

    I have a question regarding shooting a sunset with my Pentax SLR.How do I eliminate the yellow on the horizon?I have tried different aperture settings.Hugh

  • JO

    August 14, 2009 03:26 pm

    Just thought I'd share two photos I took with my Nikon D40 on sunset... this was shot in auto since I still haven't learn how to shot in manual mode.

    http://www.joarduo.com/2008/10/wordless-wednesday-6.html

    This is a great article. Thanks for sharing.

  • Peter Barkley

    August 9, 2009 07:19 pm

    Hello,

    Could you please tell me is it best to shoot with the largest apeture on the camera. I have a fujifilm 6500fd which is f2.6. Will this give me the best image because everything has to be in focus?

    Cheers

  • Robin

    June 28, 2009 10:40 am

    Is it possible to photograph in B/W on a digital camera?

  • Renzo

    May 25, 2009 09:29 pm

    Daniel,

    in my D90, below iso 200 is L01 and im assuming that that's iso 100. rpobably you have that?

  • Stunner

    April 15, 2009 01:38 pm

    Great suggestions, I'll keep these in mind!

  • daniel dolpire

    April 14, 2009 09:55 pm

    what ISO are you shooting at. old 35mm cameras shot at iso 100. my d300 and d200 does not have this low ISO!!

  • tincat4

    February 6, 2009 11:22 am

    Great info concerning photographing sunrise and sunset -( I found out the hard way about keeping the UV filter on while capturing a Sunset)

    Thank You

  • jim rodgers

    January 17, 2009 03:17 am

    Many many thanks from an incipient geriatric returning to photography, to find that film is out and all is technology. At least these days I can get out to see a sunset even if nothing else, apaer from limited table top.

  • GeorgeS

    December 31, 2008 03:11 pm

    If you want some real fun, shoot some sunsets using RAW, then play around with the white balance. Try tungsten, for example, to get a spectacular scene in blues and purples. Setting the white balance to shade (the highest temperature) will give you a warmer image. you can do the same thing with a point-and-shoot camera or using JPEG mode by changing the camera settings, but RAW makes it a lot more convenient, as you can adjust the white balance afterwards. (Yes, levels & curves in Photoshop, etc., can change the white balance, but not as dramatically and you may lose information. Also, RAW processing is "non-destructive"--the RAW image is not changed; what is changed is the "recipe" used to convert the RAW image into the displayed or printed image.

  • Clint Acklin

    September 5, 2008 02:09 am

    Very very nice tips on the sunsets.

  • Dave Black

    August 18, 2008 12:07 am

    One bit of information I was looking for was whether there is a way to better know when to anticipate a color sunset. The article just says to pay attention to the weather, look for clouds and a dusty atmosphere. Are there any web sites that help with this?

  • Ursula

    August 1, 2008 09:25 am

    Great articles. I just got a new Canon Rebel XTi 400D and I love the camera though I still have a lot to learn with it. Years ago with my first husband I did a lot of black and white shooting and developing and printing myself. The basic concepts with the digital are teh same but for some reason the pictures are not quite as sharp as they could be. I wonder if that is my doing something wrong.

  • tk

    June 30, 2008 02:22 pm

    Use a prime lens as they have less elements, and polorizer is no good if the sun is in the shot plus prone to more flare..SO shoot bare witout UV filter as well..

  • Andrew

    April 28, 2008 09:39 pm

    Id like to try out my point to shoot compact camera on a sunset,im not sure on how to catch the purple colours.Im using a 12 meg pix auto with a manual overide ,f2.8 - f8, 8 seconds to 1/1000 ,iso 1600.P mode = man foc ,infinity, af, micro.It takes great video at 30 fpsec.My question is will my weapon do the job as some of the photos on this site are taken in f 22?

  • Scott

    February 26, 2008 02:22 am

    Michael, if you haven't already, I would consider using a polarizing filter which will help bring out the blues.

  • Michael Junge

    January 22, 2008 01:43 pm

    Great comments...I've got a problem in where I am taking my pictures there are only yellow-orange, kind of goldish, colors at sunset. Rarely reds, no blues or violets. Any thoughts on how to add drama with limited chroma?

  • Tamara

    October 25, 2007 03:35 am

    theses are beautiful pictures. I take pictures of sunsets and sunrises too and I get some good ones out of 10 but not as good as the ones you have taken. I love them all. Not All sunsets and sunrise are the same. they are all different and they all havea different meaning .one might be a angry sunset where the sky if fulll of bright dark strikes of clouds here and there and some may be beautiful blues and red and orange and pink and purple. they all have a meaning if you take a look closley at each an d one of them. they have a way of saying how your day wasy and how you will fel the next day too. well at least thats what I have felt when i have taken A look at a sunset or sunrise that day or night. well I just wanted to let you know htat they are beautiful pictures and no matter how much someone ells you in a magazine or in your face that taking oucs of sun sets is over rated its NOT I love it and still do it... and im 17.. thank you for listening to me..

  • mommac

    October 11, 2007 11:48 pm

    beautiful

  • Jacek

    August 29, 2007 02:22 am

    Thanks for the technique. It was helpful about getting colors out of it.

  • oQ

    August 28, 2007 06:24 pm

    Great Technique.... i'm beginner!! thanks a lot for these articel...hopefully will be easier...

  • Arturo Godoy

    August 15, 2007 12:59 pm

    These are great tips indeed, that apply to a lot of circumstances. In a few cases I managed to apply them, and in some I just didn't, but it is all awesome. ;o)I love sunsets and nature, but as I began reading all of the tips here, sometimes I feel that I've improved quite a great deal, and there is still much to learn. ;o)

  • Anderson Schoenrock

    August 15, 2007 06:16 am

    These are great tips! Through my work at ScanDigital we see hundreds of photo albums from customers trips all over the world. Inevitably they include at least one or two sunset shots. Having a great sunset shot really does capture a vacation at its finest moment.

  • cheryl

    August 11, 2007 10:33 am

    I just love that time of the day and have some great shots like you said on other than a clear day
    also keep shooting is a good point you never know when the next moment is THE shot

  • shroticg

    August 11, 2007 06:19 am

    most attractive part of nature photography is sunset photography. i have even seen less pictures of sunrise than sunsets. what wonder nature creates in the sky is visible in the sunsetting hours of the day. mr ahmed has done a great job and opened our eyes to the most beautiful and blissful moments of the last hours of the day. thanks.

  • Bob

    August 11, 2007 02:19 am

    Great tips for sunsets and general photography.
    Thanks!

  • Xgkkp

    August 11, 2007 01:57 am

    Yes, using Aperture or Shutter Priority mode still uses the cameras metering... and even if you do vary over a range of shutter speeds, the camera should vary the aperture to give exactly the same exposure for the scene. the only thing you will be changing is either the depth of field (which you want lots of, presumably for a sunset) and motion blur - and there probably won't be much moving.

    Perhaps you meant to switch to manual mode, where the camera doesn't meter (or at least, doesn't base it's settings off of the metering.

    Auto exposure bracketing works fine in the aperture and shutter modes though.

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