10 tips for taking great sunset photos

I LOVE sunset photos, and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in that. In fact, this was proved recently when I placed a post in a Facebook travel blogger group, asking for some sunset photos to share on my Instagram page for a feature.

The response was overwhelming, with over 168 different photos offered in just 24 hours. I closed the post at that point, but a small part of me was left wondering how many more great snaps would have arrived.

Anyway, as there were so many I couldn’t settle on just 9 for a best of instagram sunsets feature, so I decided to write a post and share some tips on how to take great sunset photos.

I recently did something similar with tips for taking photos of waterfalls, but remember, I am by no means a professional photographer but I know my way around a camera and can take some pretty good pics.



Learn how to handle a camera

The biggest bit of advice I can give before getting started is a good camera won’t take great pictures on its own. If you are investing money in a camera, invest some time (or more money) in learning how to use it. There are some great online photography courses available or why not buy a book or two, a little bit of knowledge goes a long way!

For the best sunset pictures, it is important to know what aperture, white balance, ISO and shutter speed all is. Generally, I’ll still shoot on semi-auto, but it is good to at least understand what you are doing.

That said, on with the photos. Remember that if you see something you like? Be sure to follow these guys on Instagram, they have some talent!

Sunset Photography tip 1 – Horizon

Something that really irks me is when people don’t take the time to ensure a straight horizon (or even fix it in after processing). When taking sunset photos, the horizon will normally be one of the main features, be sure it’s straight.

Sunset Photography tip 2 – Silhouettes

What defines a sunset photo more than some awesome contrast from a great shape silhouetted in the foreground? Just be sure to choose something that is easily recognisable to the viewer, such as a person or landmark, and that it is not too big that is dominates the image over the sunset. Creating this effect is really easy. Just ensure you are using a fast shutter speed which you can do by using the S setting on the camera.

And it’s a FOUR !!! Rose the chorus above the soaring waves on Juhu beach. As the batsman positioned himself to face the next ball I changed settings of my camera and pointed it towards the batsman, ignoring his warnings that I may get hit. All I was thinking was the only thing better than clicking a sunset is clicking a game of beach cricket in a sunset. What a beautiful day on the beach in #mumbai. . . . . . . . . . #IncredibleIndia #TravelBlogging #everydaymumbai #desi_diaries #discover_india #EveryDayIndia #IncredibleIndia #indianshutterbugs #indiaphotoproject #indiapictures #ISBTraveler #desiHumans #MyIndiaCNN #MyPixelDiary #AdventureTravel #PortraitsofIndia #storiesofindia #TravelStories #Instatravel #Outdoors #cricket #TravelGram > >> >>> PS: Many thanks to all the wonderful photographers who are sharing their pictures for the next desi Traveler digest. I am looking to showcase interesting #Instagram accounts on my little #travelBlog, all you need to do is follow @desiTraveler and use #desiTraveler in your Insta pictures. And I will feature my favorites on the blog. Yes, that simple. Check the first two such posts that are live now. Link in Bio.

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Sunset Photography tip 3 – Forget what I said about silhouettes

While silhouette sunset photography is great, it’s not everything. If you find a great point of interest, show it off in all its glory. Now, this is a tricky skill as you’ll need to balance the shutter speed with the aperture to ensure the camera catches the detail without overexposing the background (#geeeeeeek!). If you understood that great! If not, I go back to my intro, invest some time in learning the basic DSLR skills, it doesn’t take long and you’ll be amazed what you can achieve.

Sunset Photography tip 4 – Clouds

Cloudy day? Fear not, some of the best sunset photos come when there are whispy little clouds in the sky. Of course, it can be that too many clouds destroy a sunset, this is where you need the most important of all photography accessories, a cool beer to sip on and remember there is always tomorrow.


Sunset Photography tip 5 – Turn off auto white balance

I know, it sounds scary, WTF is white balance and how can I do it better than auto? It took me a while to dare to do this but seriously, it makes a huge difference. The feature is there to try and remove unrealistic colour casts and adjust the temperature of the photo. I just say play around with it. While the shade setting tends to work out quite well for photos, just try each one and find what you like.

Throwback Thursday to one very cold afternoon. @royalcaribbeanuk #extraordinaryexplorer #tbt

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Sunset Photography tip 6 – The sun doesn’t have to be the star of the show

It’s very easy to focus on the sun and make sure it’s there, in the centre of every picture, however, this doesn’t have to be the case. Some of the nicest photos have the sun as the side of the frame letting the scenery take centre stage. Play around with composition.

And every evening Iceland paints it’s sky in different colors #snaefellsnes #lowcosttravellers

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We all love a good moan – I moan in London when it’s raining and in Morocco when it’s sweltering ! Thankfully I am one of those annoying people who only needs to glimpse the sun to tan as I’m not quite built to sit in it all day without melting! . With my rather backward internal heating systems I love paddling my feet in a cool sea for some relief from the heat The issue with the sea in Thailand is that it isn’t even that cold! <img draggable=” src=”https://s.w.org/images/core/emoji/2.2.1/svg/1f1f9-1f1ed.svg”>” src=”https://s.w.org/images/core/emoji/2.2.1/svg/1f1f9-1f1ed.svg”>” src=”https://s.w.org/images/core/emoji/2.2.1/svg/1f1f9-1f1ed.svg”>” src=”https://s.w.org/images/core/emoji/2.2.1/svg/1f1f9-1f1ed.svg”>” src=”https://s.w.org/images/core/emoji/2.2.1/svg/1f1f9-1f1ed.svg”>” src=”https://s.w.org/images/core/emoji/2.2.1/svg/1f1f9-1f1ed.svg”>” src=”https://s.w.org/images/core/emoji/2.2.1/svg/1f1f9-1f1ed.svg”>” src=”https://s.w.org/images/core/emoji/2.2.1/svg/1f1f9-1f1ed.svg”>” src=”https://s.w.org/images/core/emoji/2.2.1/svg/1f1f9-1f1ed.svg”>” src=”https://s.w.org/images/core/emoji/2.2.1/svg/1f1f9-1f1ed.svg”>” src=”https://s.w.org/images/core/emoji/2.2.1/svg/1f1f9-1f1ed.svg”>” src=”https://s.w.org/images/core/emoji/2.2.1/svg/1f1f9-1f1ed.svg”>” src=”https://s.w.org/images/core/emoji/2.2.1/svg/1f1f9-1f1ed.svg”>” src=”https://s.w.org/images/core/emoji/2.2.1/svg/1f1f9-1f1ed.svg”>” src=”https://s.w.org/images/core/emoji/2.2.1/svg/1f1f9-1f1ed.svg”>” src=”https://s.w.org/images/core/emoji/2.2.1/svg/1f1f9-1f1ed.svg”>” src=”https://s.w.org/images/core/emoji/2.2.1/svg/1f1f9-1f1ed.svg”>” src=”https://s.w.org/images/core/emoji/2.2.1/svg/1f1f9-1f1ed.svg”>” src=”https://s.w.org/images/core/emoji/2.2.1/svg/1f1f9-1f1ed.svg”>” src=”https://s.w.org/images/core/emoji/2.2.1/svg/1f1f9-1f1ed.svg”>The only redeeming factor is that it comes with an incredible sunset Koh Yao Yai, Thailand . . . . #thailand #travelgram #traveltheworld #wanderlust #paradise #sunset #sunsetlovers #passionpassport #igtravel #instatravel #travelingyourplanet #theglobewanderer #travelphotography #traveldiaries #travelmore #travelawesome #skyporn #travel #skyphotography #sunsets #vacation #kohyaoyai #tbt #holiday #scenery #mytinyatlas #welltravelled #welivetoexplore #worlderlust #orangesky

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Sunset Photography tip 7 – Forget tip 6, the sun is the focal point

It’s a sunset photo, make it all about the sun and make it glorious!

What a wonderful, wonderful world

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The secret of happiness is to find a congenial monotony”. I may just have found my secret of happiness. Everyday, sun bids goodbye by painting this canvas with pink, orange and red hues. Yet, every single time the sight overwhelms me leaving me mesmerized! Not all monotony is bad after all. This is a postcard from the state of heritage, culture, marvelous monuments and exotic wildlife of India. Hold on for my next post wherein I will bring to you the most gorgeous postcards from this state. Can you guess which state I am talking about? #silhouette #travelallindia #lanesofindia #mypixeldiary #_soi #_soh #storiesofup #diversityofindia #indiaclickindia #indianinstagraphers #pixelpanda_india #igershindustan #indianphotosociety #_visualsofindia #mexposureindia #picturesofindia #INDIAPICTURES #_hpics #ClickIG #indiaclicks #p_i_ #_instaindia_ #indiaview #indiaphotostory #storiesofindia #indianphotography #natgeoyourshot #discover_india #splendid_india @indians_click #indiaphotoarts @indiaphotoarts

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Sunset Photography tip 8 – Wait . . . scrap everything, NO SUN!

Often people don’t hang around for what some refer to as the second set, the afterglow or the blue hour. Call it what you like, about 20 minutes after the sun has dipped over the horizon the sky has a habit of lighting up for a second time. So hang around and enjoy that beer I already mentioned you’ll need. This is especially useful for skyline photos.

Sunset Photography tip 9 – Do your research

This is a must. Sometimes the sun makes it easy for you and just drops nicely into an ocean, however, if you want to get a landmark or iconic building into it then you’ll need to spend sometime researching and know where to be so you’ll be ready when the sun sets.


Sunset Photography tip 10 (and most important) – Have fun

Whatever you do, don’t get carried away and focus too much on your photo that you can only remember the magic moment by looking at a picture. It is easy to get so distracted that you don’t pay attention to what is happening. Put your camera down, listen to the sounds, smell the aromas, feel the air, do a weird yoga pose, sip on your drink, create a memory so that in life’s most stressful moments, you can lean back in your chair, close your eyes and be taken back to that blissful moment in your mind.

Sayulita sunsets… Join me January 6-13 for my Embodied Living Retreat in Sayulita, Mexico. We’ll spend 5 days at a fabulous eco-boutique resort in San Francisco, Mexico followed by 3 days in Sayulita, Mexico. Jungle living meets boho-surf town. Daily yoga, lifestyle design workshops, goddess beach bonfires and soul revival ceremonies. Amazing food, company and memories to nourish the soul. Authentic, aligned and created with love. Single cabana suite $1649 Double cabana suite $2049 *above rates with 250usd early-bird discount Signup ASAP TO SAVE More info in profile link. https://www.yogadicha.com/sayulita-yoga-retreat/ #yogawithrichelle #embodiedliving #sayulita #photography #travelblog #yogachallenge #yogaretreat #yogalife #yogalifestyle #wanderlust #yogaeverywhere #gypsysoul #yogateacher #yogateachertraining #yogalove #tulumyoga #yogatulum #yogaeveryday #femaleentrepreneur #yogalife #traveller #womeninbiz #femaletraveler #followthesun

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Your Turn . . .

As you can see there are so many ways to take great sunset photos which is why they are so popular, they allow for so much creativity. Do you think I missed out any important tips for better sunset photos in this roundup? Be sure to let us know your tips in the comments below.

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8 Replies to “10 tips for taking great sunset photos”

  1. Great selection of photos and good tips! I am following a photography course this month and will prepare myself with testing some of your advices in the coming weeks 😀

    1. Thanks! Awesome idea about the course. I was lucky, my dad was a pro so he taught me some stuff, but it is amazing what a little extra understanding can do to your pictures. I’m sure you’ll love it!

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