5 tips to take successful shots of sunsets

5 tips for successful shots

Often fascinating and spectacular, the sunset is one of those magical moments that lead to strong emotions and beautiful images. But capturing this precious moment can sometimes be complicated. Here is some advice so you don’t miss your face-to-face with the sunlight.


1. Punctuality and patience

You can’t make the god Helios wait. When it’s time, it’s time. So be as prepared as possible for your “rendezvous” with the sun by arriving with time to spare at a place which you have, if possible, identified beforehand. Your shooting window to capture the very best light will be around 30 minutes long (15 minutes before and 15 minutes after sunset). It’s a question of not missing the boat.

2. The art of composition

By arriving in advance, you will be able to take care over your composition. What do you want to highlight? The golden colours, a reflection, a shadow play silhouette? It would be better to “choose” rather than to “shoot” like crazy. And to make your image more dynamic, there’s the rule of thirds, this imaginary grid that divides the frame into three equal parts vertically and horizontally. Place the important parts of your image along the lines or at their intersections.

3. Our friends Cirrus and Cumulus

As much as possible favour cloudy skies. The clouds will add substance and relief to your illuminated sky and contrast and texture to your photo. Clouds that are high up, cirrus, will produce beautiful diffuse red-orange colours, low clouds, cumulus, will provide substance and character!

Sunset photo

The lowest clouds will give more contrast to your photo.

4. As for settings…

A little bit more technical… opt for a small aperture (f/11 to f/16), low sensitivity (ISO 100 or 200) and a shutter speed of around 1/200. You can adjust this speed according to how the initial shots look (long live digital!). Tip: feel free to underexpose to make the colours more saturated. Finally, when it comes to focusing, the clouds are often valuable allies… otherwise, you will have to focus manually.

5. Last step: editing

Increasingly intuitive, image editing (or post-processing) software will enable you to enhance your images. A minor correction of the exposure, a touch more sharpness, contrast or saturation… it’s simple and quick but should be used in moderation!”

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