Snapping Spectacular Sunset Shots

If there is any time of the year to snap a spectacular shot of a sunset it’s now. Summertime means frequent trips to the beach and whether you are spending time at the shore on the East Coast, a coastal retreat out west or camping in the heartland you are bound to witness an awe-inspiring sunset at some point. The trick is doing justice to its beauty with your camera.

The following are tips to consider before pointing and shooting at the horizon this summer:


Think about your composition. Do you want a simple shot of the sun setting taken from the shore or are you looking to capture the end of the day from a unique angle that requires advance set up? Are you planning to add other subjects to your shot? For instance, are you traveling to the beach to capture your daughter’s face as she witnesses her first sunset at the beach? Or do you want to snap family members or other subjects silhouetted against the sunset? Another option is to include a landmark to remember where you were. The point is to use the sunset as the perfect background to a personalized shot and by planning ahead you won’t be scrambling at the last moment to make it happen.


The colors associated with a sunset are constantly changing so you need to keep your finger moving. Be prepared to fire away throughout the entire experience. On occasion I have taken dozens of photos while trying to capture a brilliant sunset. This is especially easy to do when you have a digital camera. Snap all you want in the moment and go back later and delete the shots you don’t think are print worthy. Another advantage of shooting a ton of shots is that you will capture a sequence of colors that you normally wouldn’t get to focus on for very long with the naked eye.


Since your camera is more apt to see the dark foreground and the bright tones of the sky you may be better off underexposing your photo during the peak moments of a sunset so your shots come out a bit darker. Overexposed shots yield washed out pics while those that are slightly underexposed will be much more vibrant and saturated.

Related Articles:

What to do if Your Camera Gets Wet

Taking Your Camera to the Beach… and Using It

Tips to Consider Before Taking Your Camera to the Beach

More Tips to Keep Your Camera Safe at the Beach

Camera Care Tips

Protecting Your Camera From Mother Nature

Cutting Edge Cameras and Accessories

This entry was posted in Techniques, Tips & Tricks and tagged , , , by Michele Cheplic. Bookmark the permalink.
Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.