5 tips to taking stunning sunset pictures

Love sunsets?

Love taking photos of sunsets?

But how do you people take stunning images of sunsets?

1. Underexpose

This, for me, is the most important tip - don't just rely on the camera to get the correct exposure. It will do an okay job but often with overexpose your image which will then be too bright and won't show to stunning colours. 

Slightly underexposing sunset images will ensure the colours are rich and defined. The entire scene will be more dramatic. To underexpose,

 set your camera to manual mode and select a faster shutter speed. Underexposing can also have another benefit - it can produce some striking silhouettes.

Underexposing really brings out the colour in the sky, I really love the reflection of the colour in the wet sand of the beach.

2. Find a foreground

I just love the silhouette of these birds in this stunning sunrise photograph over Colwick lake, Nottingham

Even with the most dazzling sunset, with amazing colours it's always worth thinking about the foreground. The foreground is what takes a photo from being a beautiful sunset to a stunning image. So look around, find an interesting pier, lake or even a person. Just find something interesting to put in the foreground. This way, when you exposure correctly for the sky, the object will become a striking silhouette. 

If you're photographing a portrait, you may find that by positioning them between you and the sunset, if you get the exposure just right the sun will light up their hair, which can really add some character to your portrait. 

This picture has two thirds water and one third sky. 

3. Composition

The next step is the composition. One of the most important rules or guidelines in photography is the 'Rule of Thirds' - quite simply a photograph looks better when you split the image into thirds. So when photographing a sunset, putting the horizon on the bottom third - to highlight a spectacular sunset - or the top third - to highlight a particularly interesting foreground.

4. Look around

As amazing as watching, and photographing, a stunning sunset can be sometimes you have to turn around and look away from the sunset. Often you will find the colours just as dramatic looking the other way. It can also be a fantastic time to take portraits - it's often called the golden hour by photographers because the warm orange glow at sunset can make beautiful family portraits.

5. Keep shooting 

This one is often easy to miss. When you go out to photograph the sunset it can be tempting to head home once the sun drops below the horizon.

Don't make this mistake.


Often about 20 minutes after the sunset the sky seems to light up again. It can be all to easy to give up and head home before this but just sit back and enjoy. Often the colour of the sky can appear even more stunning as the light begins to fade. And then if you're feeling adventurous you could even try your hand at a bit of astro-photography - but that's a whole other blog!


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