Iconic or clichéd, sunsets are amongst the most photographed subjects not only for us photographers but also the average person in the street. The reason? They are beautiful, mother nature at her very best, starting and ending the day in style. They are also quite difficult to get right, not only from a technical point of view but also from a compositional aspect. Today we are going to look at making your sunrise and sunset shots stand out from the crowd. We start with the technical aspects of shooting the sun. There are two aspects that often lead to poor quality sunset shots, exposure and color. Both of these are easily overcome but you will need to override your cameras automatic settings.
How to Nail Your Exposure Perfectly in Sunset Photography
Because, in general, your camera is expecting an average amount of light, when presented with the brightness of the sun, it can tend to overcompensate and under-expose. To maintain good definition in the sky, rather than just the sun, try reading your exposure from an area of sky near the sun but without the sun in shot. Alternatively, you can shoot manually or by using exposure compensation. In most cases you will find that you need to increase the exposure – longer shutter speed or wider aperture – to bring back definition to the sky. Watch you histogram too, increasing the exposure too far will lead to blown highlights, in this case, the sun which will effectively ruin the shot.
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