# 1: Shoot RAW – High Quality Images give you flexibility in the Editing Process
Sunsets have very delicate colors and will require you to utilize your camera’s full dynamic range. Capturing your images in RAW will retain the most ‘information’ and allow you more creative latitude in Post Processing. This will help you bring out the full range of colors and tones that reflect the sunset experience.
# 2: Use a sturdy tripod.
• Low light exposures can run long – longer than you can hand hold. When you look at the images on a larger screen you will find many of your images will be soft due to camera shake. Sunsets shots will tend to have longer shutters speeds.
• When you’re shooting on a tripod don’t use image stabilization. Remember to turn it off. Using image stabilization when you are on a tripod will it will reduce image sharpness rather than increase sharpness.
• Make sure you have a level horizon – a tilted horizon will be very obvious in a sunset shot!
#3: Plan ahead – Visualize your shot!
• Arrive well before sunset and scout the location to find the best spots. Pre-visualize your shots – find shot lines where you may not only be able to track the sun all the way down but also take advantage of opportunities for shots that include foreground elements and silhouettes.
• Remember your composition fundamentals when you pick your shots — especially ensure that you do not have any unintended inclusions in your frame! A focal point in the foreground can greatly enhance a sunset image – it can add a visual flow & depth.
#4: Filters: To use or not to Use!
• Graduated Neutral Density Filters: Great tool to reduce the light levels of the bright sky and allow you to have an exposure that will be more balanced in light. If you have a reverse Neutral Density filter
• Polarizers: Don’t use if you shooting directly at or away from the sun. Other filters like UV filters will only serve to cut the amount of light you are capturing and will affect saturation and contrast of your sunset captures.
#5: Master Aperture Priority (Av) & Manual (M) Shooting Modes
• Sun In Sky: Use aperture priority with exposure compensation. In order to get the correct creative exposure you will need to use exposure correction.
• Sun Below Horizon: Use Manual Mode. The exposure meter on your camera will often be inaccurate in low light settings and you may not get the capture you are creatively aiming for; so switch over to using manual mode in very low light of the late evening/ dusk.
#6: Use Histograms & Test Shots
Check you histograms — this is the best way to tell if you have a workable image. You can work through your exposure settings to get the image you want by using your histograms as a guide. Take test shots – check focus/sharpness, composition. Remember to check the sharpness of your foreground elements and silhouettes.
#7: Look around you!
Sunsets produces scintillating colors in the sky in front of you; the sunset hour also casts a wonderful golden light all around, giving you multiple opportunities (portraits, landscapes, macro among others). Also remember to take advantage of backlighting opportunities to capture the beautiful golden glow.
#8: Keep Shooting! AFTER the sun drops below the horizon!
Late evening and sunset lighting conditions rapidly changes over time and can produce great colors well after the sun goes down. Keep shooting and look around (especially directly opposite where you camera is currently pointed) to constantly evaluate additional opportunities!