If you are keen on photography, you have probably heard about the famous ‘golden hour‘? It is a term used to describe a period shortly after sunrise or before sunset. According to professional and amateur photographers, as well as models, it is the best time of the day to shoot.
Sunsets add aesthetic value to any landscape and make a regular place look unique and extraordinary. At this time, the daylight is much redder and softer than during other times of the day. The photographer gets a mix of the red, blue, pink, and yellow sky without using photoshop presets.
However, stunning and impressive sunset photos are, capturing the last rays of the day is not as easy as it seems. Camera lenses gather lightning differently than the eyes. That means that although you see the most spectacular view, in reality, the photo may come out dull, and displeasing.
If you are an aspiring professional photographer, you should know that to get the most out of a sunset photo; you need to set the camera right and remember some specific features. Otherwise, the snaps may turn out overexposed, too dark, exaggerated, or blurry. In other words, they could be disappointing.
To avoid these issues, be mindful of these three main configurations and start taking those stellar pictures!
Depending on the equipment you are using, the settings you should pay detailed attention to adjust properly will vary.
First and foremost, use the histogram to help you. The histogram is a graph that shows the overall brightness or luminosity of a landscape. It peaks whenever there is a lot of the tonal range of the image pushed into the shadows, mid-tones, or highlights.
The histogram is essential when it comes to adjusting the ISO setting, brightening, or darkening the photo. When shooting during sunsets, it is best to keep the ISO at the camera’s native level. Otherwise, you may lose the natural effect of the snap.
Some of the most impressive smartphone sunset photos come out when there is a sharp silhouette in front of the sundown.
If you are trying to shoot that, lower the exposure by dragging the exposure slider down one or two stops. That way, you will reduce the light scattering and enhance the focus on a silhouette.
Color is one of the crucial elements of a good sunset photo. A general rule is that the longer you wait during a sunset, the better the colors will get. When the sun goes down, the light is scattering, causing some parts of the sky to turn red or orange and others violet or pink.
To make the colors pop and stand out in the picture, try setting a slight underexposure. It will make the image a bit darker, but at the same time, it will intensify and deepen the magnificent colors. The entire landscape will become more dramatic and expressive.
Take this into account even if there is a silhouette such as a person in the picture. If you wish to divide the snap into the fore and background clearly, you may be tempted to overexpose it so that the silhouette will become more visible. Although setting the exposure to brighter than natural will make the person more illuminated, you will lose the sky’s spectacular colors.
The composition is critical when it comes to snapping a sunset. A weak form will diminish even the most beautiful sundown.
Most amateur photographers tend to ‘bulls line’ their composition, meaning they put the horizon line and the main object of the photo, such as the sun, in the same line. An arrangement set this way, fates the image to be mediocre at best.
Use the rule of thirds. That means that you should divide the photo into three main sections to keep the composition’s right balance.
On top of that, pay detailed attention to the most impressive part of the image and try to capture it from different angles.
One last final tip is to take the sunset pictures RAW. It will give you much more freedom, and make the editing process a lot easier, later on.
With the intense colors and dramatic scenery, sunset images are imposing when it comes to editing, but at the same time, they give you plenty of room to show off your editing skills. No other type of photo will change so significantly with such small adjustments.
The tips mentioned above are a significant part of basic knowledge about sunset photography. However, there are always more details that can be adjusted and set to enhance the final effect.
Sunset snaps are one of the most breathtaking and adored photos. Photographers, models, and people admiring the outcome, usually love them. Take your camera, wait until late afternoon, and discover the magic of shooting at sundown.