2 BEST tips for taking better sunset pictures

2 BEST tips for taking better sunset pics

So I wanted to write a blog about how to get better sunset pics because there's nothing like capturing a beautiful sunset! I remember when I was first starting out with photography I just kept reading and experimenting with my camera. Here are the 2 main tips I have learned for taking better sunset pics:

1. Put the white balance mode to "cloudy" as it will bring out more of the red in the sunset (like the pic above). 

2. Use a graduated filter so when you expose for the sun you don't have to silhouette the foreground. If you don't know what a graduated filter is then now is a good time to learn because using the right filter at the right time can dramatically improve your pictures. Basically, a portion of the glass that screws onto your lens is darker than the rest of the glass. That way when you put the darker portion over the sun it will expose it for the sun while allowing the light from the foreground (in this case the water) to come through and it will be exposed correctly. You do also have to meter off of the sun or the sky to get the exposure you want. You can actually rotate where you put the darker part of the glass too, which is pretty cool. I bought the Tiffen 58mm Graduated 0.6 ND Digital HT Filter from B&H (which is in my opinion the BEST place to buy photo/video equipment). Click the red link to see a pic of it and to read about it on B&H's website.

Here is a side by side comparison using a graduated filter (on the left) and not using any filter (on the right). In my opinion, the sunset looks great in both pics, but the one on the left when using the graduated filter looks much better overall and it came out more true to how my eyes saw that sunset.

(w/ graduated filter)                                     (without graduated filter)
1/200, f/13, ISO 100 at 250mm                   1/60, f/18, ISO 100 at 250mm                

*NOTE: You need to make sure you are buying the right size filter for the lens you are using. A lot of lenses are 58mm so you would need a 58mm filter, but some lenses are larger or smaller. If you can't find the correct size filter for your lens, as was the case when I bought the solar filter I used to take pics of the solar eclipse, you might have to buy a step-up ring. For example, I have a 58mm lens and all of the 58mm solar filters were sold out so I had to buy an 82mm solar filter and then also buy a 58-82mm step-up ring. The step-up ring screws into your lens and allows you to put an 82mm filter onto a 58mm lens. CLICK HERE to see the step-up ring I had to buy in order to use the solar filter back on Aug. 21, 2017. 

*NOTE: Be careful of having too slow of a shutter speed when you are zoomed in all the way on a telephoto lens as the camera shake is generally much greater and more prone to the pic coming out blurry. I learned that the hard way once and the pic came out like crap, so try to have a faster shutter speed so it "freezes" whatever you are trying to capture. 

I hope this blog post helps you take better sunset pics! Feel free to send me your best sunset pic as I'd love to see the pic you get from using this information. Have fun! :)

Click here to go to the sunset pic at Smith's Point

Sincerely,

Steven Archdeacon