The best camera settings for sunset photography

Sunset photography is a favourite subject any time of the year. The rich colors, dramatic lighting and strong shapes they offer can produce stunning shots with little need for much effort or clever planning from you.

However, you might find that your camera often captures pale imitations of the sunsets you see with your naked eye. Somehow, the intensity of the colors may have been lost, or the composition might not work.

So, here’s our guide to getting the most from a spectacular sunset, by composing your shots properly and adjusting the camera settings to make the most of the colors.

How to set up your camera for sunset photography

We mention White Balance and Picture Controls in our walkthrough, but you need to think about ISO settings too. Don’t use Auto ISO if you’re using a tripod, because you won’t need higher ISOs and the quality will suffer.

If you’re shooting handheld, though, Auto ISO can be a good safeguard, because light levels (and shutter speeds) can change much more quickly than you might expect.

1. First attempts


Conditions change rapidly, so it’s good to get a few shots done quickly first. Here, we’ve used our zoom lens at its widest focal length, and got right up close to this old wooden lighthouse. This has resulted in a dramatic perspective, from tilting the camera upwards, but the sun is quite small in the background.

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