Everyone loves looking at gorgeous sunsets, which is why sunset photography is so popular. If you want to take stunning sunset pictures, then here are some some simple techniques you can use to get photos that really stand out.
Sunset Photography Rule #1: Protect your Eyes and Camera
It is dangerous to your eyes and to your camera's image sensor to point your camera directly at a bright yellow sun. Using a long lens or optical zoom will magnify the damaging effects. If you want to get a better picture (and play it safe), wait until the sun has fallen below the horizon or is a dark red color.
Sunset Photography Rule #2: Capture the Color
Ever run out the door to photograph a brilliant sunset but then after uploading to your computer wonder what happened to those saturated, bright hues? Usually the culprit is the camera's automatic white balance. While your eyes can easily see the brilliant yellows, oranges, magentas and blues of a sunset, the camera's automatic white balance works to dull down the bright colors to make them look more normal..The solutions are simple:
* If you have manual settings, turn off the auto white balance, and then set the white balance to the warm side.
* If your camera has a color lens setting or you are shooting with an SLR or DSLR, try some shots with the red filter selected or attached.
* Using a compact that doesn't offer these manual settings? Really simple solution here: set it to sunset mode. You can use this for sunrises too. Sunset mode automatically sets the white balance to keep its color balance warm. Sunset mode also helps the camera use the best focus and exposure (with no flash) for this type of image.
* None of these apply to your camera? Use Landscape mode or auto, and then use photo editing software to adjust the white balance to reflect the brilliant colors you saw.
* You may also want to experiment with different exposure settings or use your photo editor to darken or lighten. Be sure to make changes on a copy of the original file- never the original!
* Sometimes a slower shutter speed will work better for sunset photos so if you do, make sure to use a tripod to steady your camera.
Sunset Photography Rule #3: Capture the Best Compositions
* Use basic landscape photography techniques and patience to create stunning sunset pictures.
* Not all sunsets make great photos. To get a remarkable sunset picture, you need an amazing sunset. Look for clouds, as they almost always make for more impressive sunsets. Sunsets with clouds are even more impressive over large bodies of water.
* Give yourself time to watch the sunset and wait for the really amazing pictures.
* Take your sunset photos in areas where you're free from clutter or distractions like power lines and buildings (unless you intend to have the building as part of your photo).
* Compose your pictures with something in the foreground like a palm tree or boat to give the image context and scale. The sunset will usually create the silhouettes giving your picture more drama.
* If the sky is the most dramatic part of the sunset, compose your picture so that two thirds of it is filled with sky. If the reflection on water and silhouettes is the most captivating part of the pictures give this two thirds of your image's real estate.
* Head to a beach where you'll find some of the best sunset pictures. Here you can see the sun setting over the horizon, and your pictures will also get the benefits of the colorful reflections off the water. Other great places are the prairie or the desert where you can see the horizon and have extra color from the dust in the air.
This is all you need for succeeding at sunset photography so start using these tips and you'll be happily surprised at the beautiful sunset pictures you'll capture.
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