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Sunset Photo Tips For Beginners - Here's our beginner's guide to taking great photos of sunsets.
Protect Your EyesStaring at the sun will damage your eyes, and pointing a lens that’s potentially a magnifier will increase this risk. To be on the safe side always frame up with the sun just out of shot and then quickly reposition to take the photo and don't look directly at the sun. You can also use something solid to shield the lens from the direct sun, or wait the sun is very low in the sky and diffused by haze, cloud and pollution.
Gear ChoicesA tripod is essential for sunset photography as you'll be using small apertures, to ensure you get back to front sharpness, (if you have landscape mode selected on your compact, it will know to use a smaller aperture size) which at this time of day can mean longer exposure times are needed and working without a tripod can result in shake spoiling your shot.
Most compact cameras have specific modes for sunset, so have a look at your scene modes or have a go at working manually, switching to aperture priority, so you can have slightly more control over the image that's produced. Sunset modes tend to give colours a boost, making your sunset landscapes more vibrant. However, to get a similar effect if you're working manually, you may want to switch from auto white-balance to shade or cloud.
ResearchA bit of planning will go a long way as when the sun starts setting, you'll notice just how quickly it moves and you don't want to be wasting time, searching for a good location to shoot from. Places where you have good foreground and background interest are particularly great for sunsets. Cityscapes can also create very interesting silhouettes when placed in front of a sunset-filled sky.
You need to be at your location well before the sun sets as once it begins to go down, the sky can quickly change from having amazing colours to something completely different and dull so be ready!
Create A PathLook for locations where there's a path for the eye to follow from the front to the back of the shot. This could be a path, fence or stream. Objects such as trees, rocks and structures will give you foreground detail that's not only interesting but it will help create a composition that's much more three-dimensional.
CompositionInstead of framing your shot so the sun sits in the centre of your frame, move the camera to the left or right a bit so it's to one side of the photograph. This will help the viewer focus on other areas of the picture and stops them thinking that the sun is the only important point of the photograph.
Watch The HorizonMake sure your horizon is straight and that it doesn't run through the centre of your shot. If the sky has interesting clouds and colours, position your camera higher to include more of it. If it's the ground you're more interested in, move it down a little so that more of it is in the frame.
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