Are  your sunset photos the way you want them to be?  Read on:

photography of body of water
Photo by Willian Was on

Have  you ever taken a sunset photo and then looked at the results and thought, yes, that is not too bad, and then you saw some other photo of the same sunset and their sunset photos was so much better.  And you are wondering how they did it?  It’s the same sun, and it’s the same time, and it’s the same clouds, etc?  What is going on?

Here is some tips to make your sunset or sunrise photo just “snap” into color or look so much better for you.

Planning for your photo:

What?  I thought you could just be there and snap, get your photo.  Honestly, I look at the clouds an hour before I go take a photo of the sunset and say, “this is going to be a perfect sunset photo night”.   Not every night is going to be a perfect sunset night.   It is true, that most sunset photos are taken at the spur of the moment and you could be there at the right place at the right time.  Good for you who happen to be there.  Let’s move on.


A sunset is not just another photograph of the horizon.  If your sunset happens to go down over an island, or mountains or something then give it some composition.  People who look at sunset photos will like it much better.  Remember if you are shooting at the ocean that the horizon of the ocean should be in 1/3 of your photo.  Either the upper third or the lower third.  Where is the most color in your photo:  In the reflection on the water or color in the sky?  Then put the most color in the upper or lower third.

Here you see where there is a lot of color in the water, so the horizon is in the upper third of the photo.
Here, because of the clouds in the sky, it only made sense to put the horizon in the lower part of the photo for more impact.

Another thing to consider in a sunset is to add something in the foreground of your photo.  This makes for a much more interesting photo:


Adding trees and foliage in your foreground is a beautiful way to capture a sunset as well.  

Another great thing to do in capturing a sunset is the use of a silhouette.  If you have your family along for this, involve them in the photo:


A silhouette of your family, a child or a group is often a popular thing to do with sunsets.



The exposure aspect should also be considered to let you capture the beauty of light during sunset. What you can do is switch your camera into shutter priority mode or aperture mode. This will allow you to take different shots at varying exposures thereby achieving different results and effects for your images.

Bring your tripod along:

photo of a person taking photograph of sun
Photo by Min An on

Many good sunset photos are taken without a tripod.  But, I also think the most beautiful photos are taken just after the sun sets, when the sun is gone, and the lights put on some hues that are absolutely beautiful.  Most people miss those.  If you have your tripod you will capture, what I call, “the twilight colors”.  The blues, the purples, that everyone misses that are the most colorful, and can only be captured with a tripod.   IMG_0005-1503031004748

Shot at “twilight” when the sky produced the blues and purples in the sky.

Watch out for your “auto white balance setting”

Sometimes your auto white balance will see the huge amount of color and try to adjust your camera for all that extra color.  I know one photographer who sets his camera setting for either manual, or in automatic mode he will set it for cloudy mode or shade, whichever you have on your camera.  That might be worth experimenting with.


I hope this has helped you in your sunset photos.  There are a lot of good sunset photos gracing the walls of homes.  Big ones of you on the beach are always the fun ones.  So, enjoy God’s masterpieces.




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