Sunset Photos and Tips from the Readers

I recently posted an article titled “7 Ways to Avoid a Cliche Sunset Photo” and offered up some ways to think outside the box when the sun sets. I used my own photos as examples for my points, and at the end of the article I invited the readers of the blog to share their own tips and photos in the comments.

After 12 days, we had a whole lot of great tips and photos posted. So I decided that it was time to show them off! Here are 35 sunset photos and 30 sunset photography tips from 26 photographers. And keep an open mind while reading the tips because many of them can be applied to much more than just sunset photography.

John Milleker

A Sunset can be taken anywhere in the world. Give your viewer some hints to help them figure out where the image was taken.


Silhouettes tend to be a fail-safe way of enhacing your composition. Get someone to stand between you and the sun.

950886063 6f71485cdc

Scott Coulter

OK, one thing you haven’t mentioned yet is HDR… this can be good for emphasizing the colors that are present and making the cloud patterns more dramatic. Works best on days with not too much wind, so the clouds don’t blur/ghost when the exposures are blended.

2894222822 Ef0de27a71

Andrew Ferguson

Tim Solley

You could try HDR, as I’ve done…once.

2808010868 2a4466009d

Or, go for a detail shot.

2606031601 87f466b485


Look to shoot the sunset reflected in an object. It can help to make the shot more abstract, and gets the viewer more engaged in the photo as they try to figure it out.

435840878 30fae90f97

As I was reviewing the tips here I wanted to restate how important I think Brian’s #5 is. Turn around is a terrific way to get the out-of-the-box shot, and it is also SO MUCH easier to do, because you don’t get contrast issues and such… This shot is from a sunrise, but I think its a good example…

2304064437 8f704544dc


2121200532 F32d9be416

Neil Creek

Try HDR. One commenter above mentioned it, but I wanted to emphasise tonemapping for realism, not effect. Halos and dirty clouds aren’t attractive.

500738693 4e238a6537

Shoot landmarks or icons against the sunset. Locals will recognise them and those from elsewhere can discover a beautiful new scene.

2155746385 8e8659e30f

Strobe it. Wait till after the sun has set and use the fading sky as a backdrop for some strobe action.

2192596840 D53cc615f7

Get experimental. I took a full spherical panorama of an iconic church in New Zealand, and remapped it into a “little planet”. Here we can see both the last of the setting sun, and the golden-lit church opposite.

2451914586 0c5b66dfd1


Wait for the right moment.

161487825 6637d3072e


Don’t miss the right moment. Here’s the photo of a sunset I shot from the balcony of our condo last year. We’ve had 4 days of non-stop rain in Vancouver and then all of a sudden the sky has cleared and the sun was shining, just minutes before the sunset. The sky was unbelievably beautiful, see for yourself.

476126304 B75ec8dfe9


Play with perception. Silhouettes work well, but get creative with them by using the +/- exposure control to really bring out the effect in camera.

Steve Berardi

Just one quick one to add: don’t put the horizon in the center–you’re photographing the sunset, so the sky should take up the vast majority of the frame.

Trevor Carpenter

OK, so here’s a couple. The first one is of the wonderful light cast by a setting sun. The second one I incorporated Jeremy Brooks’ sweet ride, in the shot.

3096629293 3114f175dd

3192877962 40d541c16a


Look for the unusual. Sometime certain weather conditions will throw interesting lighting out, even after the sun is below the horizon. For example this shaft of light.

3234086031 D07371f6fd

Jeremy Brooks

And for the exception to the “the sky should take up the majority of the frame” rule, here’s one I took that is mostly railroad tracks and train cars, but with the light of the sunset at the top of the frame and reflected from the tracks.

2595073653 9f46e4b110

Antoine Khater

Get low pickup a low view point.

Do not include the sun specially if you follow your tip “Go Wide” with a wide angle the sun will look just like a small spot in the picture and will loose interest and would rather look like a dust bun or something.

Use a foreground as focal point Include an object relatively big in the foreground to serve as the picture’s focal point.

3188623049 75411fba49


There’s no need to get the sun in the frame if you’ve got something interesting in the frame….particularly a silhouette against the sunset sky.

1441753267 B5d75ead9c

Martin Wolf

Why not go vertical? This photo is a sunrise, but I think sunset and sunrise are very similar.


Hanging around long enough, say about half an hour, after the sun disappears below the horizon gives you the opportunity to take some long exposures, and lets you include some painting with light techniques.

3048000861 C366274274

Maureen Bond

I like the tip about turning around. I’m trying to use this tip with all of my photography outings. As for sunsets and sunrises I like to look for elements if possible for framing. This shot is a sunrise.

3000065448 4eaec823f6

Phil Lane

Silhouettes are a good idea I agree – you can get something stark to stand out against the background.

Also, using a flash is a good ldea to let you balance the subject and the sunset

2969609907 00a287e987

Eric Gitonga


3111149578 Da35757d97


I love the sky a half hour or so after sunset, in this image I found something that might be pretty boring during the day, but has a whole different feel in the evening.

3226186121 854b13581d

This one might be somewhat cliche, but I tried to get silhouette’s of a couple mosque towers along the banks of the Nile, coupled with a relatively wide angle to capture as much of the clouds as possible.

3178433987 18ecf5aaee


This is a shot i took some time back from my balcony in Kuala Lumpur. In fact there was a plane passingby during the 30″ long shutter. Created a cool streak along the sky.

3230424635 9e83237e87

Dememtrios the traveller

3239013457 89ee6ddb24

Great photos and tips from all who participated! The photo-in-the-comment thing was a new feature I was testing out, and I’m so pleased with the outcome that I’ve decided to keep that feature on the blog. So you can post (relevant) photos in your comments at any time from here out!