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Sunset Photography

Improve your sunsets with these few tips.

|  Landscape and Travel
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Sunset -Fritham Pond - New Forest
Photo by Alan Smith.


  • Wide angle lens
  • Telephoto zoom
  • Tripod
  • Graduated filter - help with contrast problems between the sky and land
  • Torch – it will be getting dark when you head back to your car



This time of year's a good time to be shooting sunsets as the sun's still going down at a reasonable hour. Wait a couple of months and you'll have time to go and grab some dinner and head to the pub for a quick pint before the sun's even thought about setting.

Be ready

The sun drops down in the sky quicker than you may have first thought so make sure you're in your chosen location with plenty of time to spare. The scene can also go from having incredible colours and an amazing sky to something completely different in a very short space of time too so make sure you shoot quickly and often to maximise your results.


A clear sky will give you a shot that's bursting with sunset colours but a little cloud cover or haze can create interesting patterns and colour. To enhance the colours of your sunset further use the shade or cloud white balance setting instead of auto.


You may like sunsets but they can confuse your camera if you meter from the sun. Instead, move your camera so the sun is just out of frame, take a reading and use exposure lock. If you prefer to work manually you can always use the reading from the sky as a reference point.

Types of shot

The sun maybe the star of your image but don't think this means it needs to sit centre stage. Having it slightly off centre will result in a more pleasing image but don't check your composition by looking through the viewfinder as this can damage your eyes. For wider shots make sure you're using a small aperture for front to back sharpness.

The strong shapes formed by objects such as piers, statues and people can look great silhouetted against the sky at sunset. Take a look at our previous article on silhouettes for advice on this subject.

Don't automatically think your shot needs to be horizontal as turning your camera on its side can mean foreground detail is added to the scene making the final result more interesting.

Back at home

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