Sunsets can give you attractive colors. This is where landscape photography takes place. Today, let’s talk about 5 useful tips for shooting sunset photographs.

(Tip 1) Make the Sky “On Fire”

You may find the sky become reddish before storm coming. How can we set the camera so a dump sky becomes lively? One trick is to set the white balance to high K value, for example, 7000K or 9000K. By changing this, the photo will be warmer and becomes orange or yellow.

If you go one more step in white balance setting, you can even fine-tune the Green and Magenta (G-M) color chart. By moving the selector to more M (Magenta), you can give the photo a purple-like color which has even more magic feeling.

Besides adjusting WB (White Balance), you can also increase “Saturation” in your camera to further boost up the color.

(Tip 2) How to Position the Sun?

Sometimes when taking sunset photo, inevitably the sun will be within the frame. So positioning the sun is a serious matter when you are doing the composition. Basically there are two methods you can make use of:

(1) Put in the center if it’s the main subject.
(2) Put on Golden Ratio (reference) if it’s only used to bring out other subject.

(Tip 3) What Should be Included in the Photo?

It will be boring if your photo has the sun alone. So try to add some elements to your picture to further enrich the photo. Some examples are tree branches, shells on the beach, dog running, or even a couple holding hands. Use your imagination and sense to help make your photo rich and meaningful.

(Tip 4) Make the Sun Bigger!

If you find the sun is attractive and want to enlarge the sun as much as possible, try to use a tele lens like 200mm or greater. By using such long focal length, you can compress the sun and the foreground to make the sun appears larger.

Using 200mm tele lens to zoom in the sun.

(Tip 5) Reveal the Details by Balancing the Exposure Difference

Except you want to shoot silhouette or backlight photo, you may find your foreground appears under exposure if you want to shoot a clear sun. This is because the sun is so bright that there is a huge exposure difference to the camera. To overcome this, you can use GND (Graduated Neutral Density) filter to balance the exposure difference. To landscape photographer, GND filter is a must-have for professional photographs. So if you are interested in shooting sunrise (or sunset), you can consider purchasing a set of GND filter.

FGEARS USA GND Filter is recommended for this purpose. You can buy at amazon.


Sunset is a very basic and attractive topic for beginner photography. You will surely get some good photos if you know the skills and techniques needed.


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Author: Alex Tam