Sunset Photography - How to Take Good Pictures

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It seems like everybody loves looking at beautiful sunsets, which is probably why sunset photography is such a competitive niche. 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 Intense Colors

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 problem is the camera's auto 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..Here is what you can do to capture the true color:

  • If you have manual settings, turn off the auto white balance, and then set the white balance to the warm side.
  • If you're using an SLR or DSLR or your camera has a color lens setting, try taking some pictures with the red filter.
  • Using a compact camera that doesn't have manual settings? The easiest solution is to set your camera to sunset mode. This works 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 automatic, and then use a photo editor to adjust the white balance to reflect the brilliant colors you know were there.
  • You may also want to play around with different exposure settings on your camera or you can use a photo editor to lighten or darken the tones. Be sure to make changes on copies, not 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.
  • Allow yourself time to watch the sunset and wait for the really beautiful shots.
  • Take your sunset photos from vantage points that give you a composition free of clutter, such as power lines and buildings (unless the building is serving as a focal point for 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.
  • Go to the beach where you will find some of the best opportunities for sunset photos. 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 taking amazing sunset photos so start using these tips and you'll be amazed at the beautiful sunsets you can capture.

Autumn Lockwood is a writer for Your Picture Frames and is passionate about photography. Your Picture Frames offers a huge selection of picture frames in a wide variety of styles, sizes and finishes. If you're looking for a stunning black frame or a beautiful white picture frame visit our website or call us at 1-800-780-0699.

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