How to Do Wonders With Taking Sunset Photos

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I'm Rob, the editor of Light Stalking. I try to keep this ship on course.

Everyone loves a good sunset photograph. The problem is that a lot of sunset photos are a little clichéd and one photo just kind of blends into another. Here are some ideas for getting a great sunset shot that stands out from the crowd.

1) Wait Until After Sunset – While many photographers start clicking away as the sun is setting and hitting the horizon, there is a lot to be said for hanging around 20 minutes after it’s actually gone down. This little bit of time means the lighting isn’t so harsh, and some spectacular colours star to come out that can be captured with a timed exposure.

Two columns

Photo by Sergio Tudela

2) Shoot a Silhouette – Sunset is the perfect time to test out your skills with some silhouette photography. It’s a fairly simple way to jazz up your sunsets too, if done well.

₪ Cobija: Corporativa al atardecer - Flickr Meeting at Tusk ₪

Photo by Voj

3) Look Behind You – This one is best done prior to the sun dipping over the horizon. Just prior to that point, the sun is usually sending some spectacular lighting to whatever happens to be behind you.

Taj Mahal at sunset

Photo by Betta Design

4) Get Some Water in the Foreground – Sunsets are a fantastic opportunity to take advantage of reflections in photos which can produce some spectacular results. While it’s not always possible to find water around, if you can, reeling off a few shots can be well worthwhile.

Patterns in Nature

Photo by Garry

5) Use a Tripod Setup – After the sun has dipped under the horizon, the light is less harsh and can produce some spectacular colours. Of course, the intensity of the light has also dipped, so you are most often going to need a tripod and remote shutter release to keep the camera stable.

Lookout

Photo by Caese

6) Get Your Filter On – Neutral density and polarizing filters are definitely worth taking with you to a sunset shoot. A neutral density filter will help you balance the contrast between the sky and land and a polarizing filter will take out any glare from surfaces such as water.

Ocean's 4

Photo by Funky64

7) Go Storm Chasing – If you want to pick a perfect time to take sunset photos, then try to time it when there are storms around. The lighting and shadow caused by dark clouds is often incredible for photographers making storm photography hugely popular in its own right.

~ Seen Scene ~

Photo by ViaMoi

The Sun Sets on Château de Chillon

Photo by Pear Biter

Sunset Photography Resources

11 thoughts on “How to Do Wonders With Taking Sunset Photos

  1. Kris

    Guilty of not doing #3 myself. I still remember when I was frame a shot up in Wisconsin trying to get a distant bluff and the tower above it just right.

    The next day, I was helping my wife upload photos from her little point and shoot from the same moment and she had a great sunlight shot of the little resort we were staying in with the powerful sunset gleaming off the windows.

    I try to remember that shot every time now. :)

  2. jdenham

    These are great tips! Took a shot of the sunset yesterday but missed the good one where the sun was reflecting off of the snow – it was beautiful but could not get to a safe spot to take it! thanks

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  5. Haru

    yeah amazing! guilty of not using a tripod. I still have to learn about timed-exposure. Im still clueless how to do it. Do you have a link for this? thank you

  6. Gabol67

    The photos are spectacular, but their is no mention of “how” to or what f/ stop to use etc etc. More technical info would of been great.

  7. Olivier FFRENCH

    #6 for sunset shots, the best filters to use are reverse ND grads (2 and 3 steps are the most useful)
    Normal ND grads are not really adapted as they only darken the top of the frame, which is not the area where there is the most light.

    [img]http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5135/5465484073_f13da54fd5_o.jpg[/img]

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