Quick guide: Sunsets

Sunsets takes couple of minutes and bang; that orange disc will fade into the sea. When it comes to shooting sunsets you have to be prepared to take many shots quickly to be able to select the best in colour and ambience. 

Start with these camera settings next time you are out shooting sunsets:

  • Exposure: Manual (M)
  • Focus Mode: Manual
  • Shutter speed: 1/30 sec or longer
  • Aperture: f/16
  • ISO: 100 or lower if your camera permits
  • Focal length: 18 to 24mm or the equivalent in cropped sensor (divide by 1.6)
  • Drive mode: Single-shot
  • White Balance: Daylight

Consider those additional tips when shooting sunset: 

  • A tripod is a must. Choose a sturdy one and a steady ground spot.
  • Because you are shooting in Manual, always watch for your exposure needle.
  • Expose for the sky will give you the most saturated and vibrant colours. Meter in aperture priority from the sky near to the sun. Memorise the exposure numbers metered by AV and dial them in Manual mode then recompose.  
  •  Exposing from the sky will make your foreground very dark. You can recover the shadows it in Adobe Lightroom / Photoshop. You can also make use of a Neutral Density Filter to balance the exposure.
  • If you don't have a ND Filter, shoot twice - once exposed for the sky and another for the foreground. Combine them in Photoshop.