How to Photograph Sunsets


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Have you ever wondered what causes sunsets or how to photograph sunsets? The sun rises and sets every day, like everything else on earth, this happens for a reason!

To watch and photograph sunsets is one of the greatest feelings you can have. What’s not to love about a dramatically red or a romantic pink sky? However, many people miss this amazing photographic opportunity that happens every day of the year.

What do sunsets symbolize 

The sunset symbolizes the completion of a journey, just like a sunrise represents a new beginning. Together they form an entity or a cycle. Human life is often compared metaphorically with the setting sun. The beauty of the sunset lies in its shortness – the colors and intensity of the light are just enough to calm anyone.

Why photograph sunsets

Sunset photography produces warmer tones with brighter colors that stick around longer than sunrise colors. 

Watching the sunset is a good reason to go outside,

Why are sunsets different colors 

Sunsets different colors due to the waves of light that travel through the universe every second. The length of those waves determines every color we see during the day. Blue wavelengths are smaller and scattered easily in different directions. Red wavelengths are larger and are scattered the least. 

When photographing sunsets, you will see different shades of orange, reds, pinks, and blues. During the daytime, the light has shorter distances to travel through the atmosphere hence we see blue waves and why clouds are white and blue during the day. In the evenings, the light has to travel through much more of the atmosphere, and this results in the red sky we see during sunset.

 The longest wavelengths are red, and as you progress down the rainbow, the waves get shorter and shorter until you reach the smallest wavelengths, which are blue and violet.

Tips to photograph sunsets

Think about what you’ll need for each of these shots. Make sure you’ll have everything you need on location to get that sunset photography shot done.

Equipment for taking sunset photos

Here is a list of sunset photography essentials to take with you:

  1. iPhone or camera with a memory card
  2. Powerbank or extra battery for your camera
  3. Your best lenses (if using a camera)
  4. Tripod
  5. Filters (CPL, Grading, or ND)

Plan for your sunset photos

  • Where do you want to take your sunset shot?
  • What time does the sunset in this location?
  • Weather: Will there be favorable conditions that day?
  • Equipment: are you using a phone or camera?

Arrive Early and Leave Late

If the sun sets at 4:30 pm, do not arrive at 4:25 pm. You need to arrive early to be able to examine your environment, set up, and experiment with lenses, and settings. Arriving an hour early also gives you the opportunity to create long exposure photos.

After the golden hour, you will see a change in color in the color of the sky. This is known as a blue hour and a great time to also take pictures. 

There is a sunset every day and you can start practicing your sunset photography even in your backyard before planning a trip to see the perfect spots for a Kauai Sunset or dreamy Cape Town sunset locations!

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