As the name suggests, sunset photography is landscape photography that captures sunset. As a sunset photographer, you get to shoot some dramatically beautiful sceneries of this amazing natural event. You learn to work in different lighting and weather conditions. Even if you are not much interested in clicking sunset, you should know that this experience makes you a better photographer.
First of all, plan well before shooting. Consider the location, weather, and gears needed. Visualize the features of the photo you want to take and decide what techniques you would use. You may also scout the area during sunset before to be well prepared.
For a basic landscape sunset photo, that doesn’t include any special subject, a wide-angle lens would do well. A tripod is necessary to keep your camera steady. Click here to know which tripod you should choose. Keep the ISO as low as possible- around 100, to produce good quality, grain-free images. Don’t put an extra glass in front of your lens. Set a lower aperture like f/16 to have more depth of field, which will make your photo much sharper.
Shutter speed should be kept around 1/30 of a second. You may also experiment with it- a higher shutter speed makes a photo crisp, whereas a lower shutter speed gives an ethereal effect to it. You can use High Dynamic Range (HDR) images and panoramic photos techniques to shoot sunset. HDR photos offer a great range of color, brightness, and contrast, Your HDR sunset photos will be more detailed and inspiring. Panorama or wide format photography will produce a single wide photograph from the multiple sunset photos you take. This super-wide perspective will perfectly capture the wide horizon at sunset.
When you master the ISO, aperture, and shutter speed settings, exposure will never be a problem for you. To have a good combination of lights, avoid using auto balance. If you enable it, you will end up getting reddish (warmer) photos. Like any other photography, shoot RAW images to make the post-processing easy, and adjust the white balance during editing.
As with most other types of landscape photography, clouds can be the game-changer in sunset photography too. Clouds make a plain sunset photo much more interesting. No cloud is the same- you will find different kinds of them-scattered, feathery, or dense on different days - which will make each of your sunset photos distinct. Unless the clouds are too many, and blocking the sunlight, you can consider the clouds as an enhancing element in your photograph. You might consider some other elements too. If you’re shooting from a beach, the waves or the seashore, or the wide horizon can make the photo more interesting.
Many photographers tend to make the mistake of shooting only in the golden hour. The light levels create layers in your photo. When the golden hour leads to the blue hour, the lighting becomes much more click-worthy. So, wait for a minimum of 40 minutes after sunset.
Keeping these tips in mind, you will shoot the best sunset pictures ever.
Written by Sanga Basu, Content Writer, WPC.