Friday, August 28, 2015

How to Take Glorious Sunset Images

No good travel photo collection seems to be complete without a great sunset photo or two. We all strive for them, their warmth, wholesomeness and pure serenity. But taking sunset images is not as easy as it might seem. When the sun sets the precious light also starts to vanish, so you have to follow some rules to get the best out of your situation. So that's why I decided to talk about tips and tricks on how to take glorious sunset images every time you are out and about!


Think ahead before shooting

While sometimes wonderful sunrise and sunset shots can be taken spontaneously, 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 before you go out to take your images. Look for interesting places where there will be opportunities for shots that include foreground elements and silhouettes. Sunsets only last for a short amount of time, so you want to think about these things before they start or you might miss the shots you’re after.

Zoom in and Zoom Out

This might seem like a useless headline, since it doesn't really say what to do, but let me explain. When you shoot with a wide lens (which does lend itself for sweeping landscape images) the sun 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 focal length upwards. This will increase your need for a tripod as well, since the shoot needs to be sharp! So keep both parts of your zoom lens in use.



Use Silhouettes as Focal Points

So a sunset is just a sunset. A truly great sunset image does need a subject. Since you will have to expose for the sky this naturally creates silhouettes that can be the focal point of your image. 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.

Try Bracketing to get different results

Another way to get the right exposure is bracketing. That's a method where you look at what your camera suggests you take the picture at and then take a few shots that are under and over that mark. For example: if your camera says to shoot at 1/60th of a second at f/8 you would shoot 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.


Shoot outside the auto white balance mode

When you set your camera's white balance to ‘Auto’ you run the risk of losing some of the warmth and 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 things to keep in mind when shooting sunsets


Use a tripod when necessary

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.

Focus manually in extreme lighting

Sometimes when shooting in extreme lighting conditions some cameras can have trouble focusing. 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. You might find a great opportunity for a portrait, landscape shot, macro shot etc behind you in the golden 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 so that you can get different images as the time progresses.



I hope these tips will be of use to you on your next shoot out!
An please share this post with others if you think they might find it useful. Sharing options are below.

33 comments:

  1. Yes these were useful tips Mersad. As usual your photographs are all stunning. Thanks for sharing. Have a lovely weekend.

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  2. Excellent tips, Mersad, and great examples!

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  3. Thanks Mersad, I've missed many an actual sunset because I haven't judged the timing right but caught some beauties in the afterglow.

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    1. I love lingering in the afterglow and taking images at dusk, and could (and probably should) write a whole post just on that theme.

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  4. Thanks Mersad, I've missed many an actual sunset because I haven't judged the timing right but caught some beauties in the afterglow.

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  5. Hello Mersad, thank you for the great tips! I am sure they will be useful for my next sunset or sunrise photos. Your images are always beautiful. Happy Friday, enjoy your weekend!

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  6. Das viel gelb wirkt für mich etwas unnatürlich, aber trotzdem wunderschöne Bilder.
    LG

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  7. I love that TREE... i wish you had been around with these tips when i used to go out every week end and take photos. now i rarely go out any where to use these tips, but i love looking at your photos.

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  8. Amazing shots! And such great info! Wonderful post, Mersad!

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  9. Thank you so much for your good advices! Your photo's are so beautiful.

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  10. Beautiful! I I love taking photos at sunset! :)

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  11. Thank you for the refresher course on shooting sunsets. We all love them for their color and dramatic light. I'll try to keep your points in mind next time I'm out at that time of day. From your sunsets here I can see you practice what you preach.

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  12. Great advice, Mersad!!! Thank you so much for sharing -- and, yes, we can all use a refresher course!! Hope you have a beautiful weekend!! Enjoy!!

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  13. Mersad, thank you very much for this post and your advice how to take nice pictures of sunsets. It came right in time for me. Recently I tried to take a few pictures of sunsets in the mountains. Your suggestions are so great and helpful. And your pictures of sunsets all are outstanding!!!

    Greetings from Utah.

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    1. Hi Kaya,
      I often want to comment on your gorgeous photos on your blog 'Visual Impact', but is not possible anymore. I find this is such a pitty. Is it the intention, or did it happened by accident?
      Many greetings from Hilde (http://stapjesonderweg.blogspot.be/)

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  14. All good tips, Mersad.

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  15. Great tutorial Mersad, thank you! Especially shooting with white balance in ‘cloudy’ or ‘shade’ setting is very new for me. I surely will try ths when I get the opportunity!
    Fine weekend!

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  16. Wonderful advise! I just wing it. Tom The Backroads Traveller

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  17. Gorgeous photos, Mersad, and excellent tutorial! Thank you so much. :)

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  18. Beautiful images, indeed! Thanks for the tips.

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  19. Thank you so much for these tips. I need this... :-) I'm going to try some of your tips. Thank you :-)

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  20. What great tips, Mersad! I need to remember these for tomorrow night when I am shooting!

    Thank you for joining us again this week for Photo Friday!

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  21. Some great tips! Thanks for sharing them, and have a great weekend.

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  22. Thank you for the tips ! Your pictures are gorgeous !

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  23. Beautiful!!! Loved seeing these. Thank you for sharing. Bless you!

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  24. Such gorgeous photography!

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  25. I appreciate your tips and will definitely try them.

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  26. Excellent tips and I will definitely be using them.

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  27. Good tips and your landscapes are gorgeous, as usual.

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  28. Excellent tips... keep shooting is particularly important as the light changes so quickly as the sun goes down

    Mollyxxx

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