Sunset photography is a great way to show off your landscape photography skills. But don’t be fooled, shooting sunsets is not as easy as it sounds.
It might seem like nature will do the majority of the work for you, but there are a couple of factors that can make sunset photography.
Here are ten surefire tips that will help you overcome!
Be Confident and Believe in Your Skills
Sunset photography is done all around the world by millions of people every single day, resulting in millions of similar shots.
I’ve met many photographers who to justify going out and shooting sunsets.
Standing out in a crowd so vast is not easy.
But if you strive to be a better photographer every day, and go out to shoot as frequently as you can, you will steadily develop. Your photos, including your sunset pictures, will become better and better every time.
And, soon enough, you’re likely to find that you’re actually capable of achieving those magazine-quality results you’ve always dreamed of.
Even if you don’t at first, don’t be upset. The joy of doing photography itself, particularly when shooting such a beautiful phenomenon as a sunset, will counteract that.
Imagine Your Desired Result Before Shooting
A long-held wisdom of experienced photographers is that if you don’t know what you want to capture, you won’t capture it successfully.
Keeping yourself to this rule of thumb and meticulously pre-visualising a shoot beforehand will result in better photography.
And pictures of sunsets are no exceptions. Whether you’re coming back to a location you know well, or you’re facing a completely new environment, there’s always room for prior planning.
If you’re shooting a familiar place, try to imagine the best possible sunset image you’ll get. Then work accordingly during the shoot.
In a new location, use your experience you’ve gained from shooting your local area.
This tip is about your mindset, and it’s not limited to photography. But it’s just as important as nailing your settings or composition.
Arrive Early and Examine Your Surroundings
An unfortunate many inexperienced photographers make is arriving too late on the scene. In a landscape photography situation, you need time for everything.
You need time for scouting (even if you’ve been there before). You need time for setting up, experimenting with accessories, lenses, and settings. And, you also need some leeway for solving possible equipment issues.
Another consideration is that the magic moment might happen before you expect. The sun might set behind a cloud for a moment, creating beams of light in ways you haven’t anticipated.
Or, some shadows on the ground might just be perfect 20 minutes before the actual sunset.
For these reasons, I strongly recommend arriving at the location at least an hour before you expect to get the right shot.
Doing so will set you apart from amateurs who risk missing out on fantastic opportunities.
Choose Your Gear Carefully for High-Quality Photos
Again, this depends on what subject you’re shooting during the golden hour. For landscape photography shots in general, you’ll want to go with a wide-angle lens.
Or, you could go with a zoom lens that covers the lower focal lengths. This means 35mm down to 18mm if you’re working with an APS-C sensor system and 50mm to 24mm on full-frame systems.
When capturing sunset landscapes, you want your frame to be wide and all-encompassing. This gives the scene a bigger sense of scale and grandeur.
But you’ll also need a lens that’s capable of framing more tightly if the composition requires.
You will also need a tripod — a staple of landscape photographers. This is to keep your camera stable and steady.
This is essential when shooting at slower shutter speeds. And sunset photography means slower shutter speeds as lower light and smaller apertures are usually involved.