Beautiful sunrises and sunsets are hard to resist, but photographing them can often lead to disappointing results. To make the most of your shoot, plan ahead to find the best location. While considering locations look for landmarks that will frame the sunset or foreground elements that add and not distract from the sky. The weather will come into play so check the forecast, less than perfect weather won’t always ruin a photo and can sometime add a dramatic element. A sky with haze can create some beautiful colors as can mist or dust.
Always be careful to not look or point your camera directly into the sun, take a meter reading off of the area just to the right or left of the sun, you may also want to bracket your exposure. When composing your image consider including foreground elements that will not only create an intriguing silhouette, this will also give your photo a scale and a sense of depth. Consider the rule of thirds, don’t place your sunset in the center of the photo, give your viewer more to look at and room to move within the photo. Decide which is more compelling the sky or foreground is more compelling and show it off.
Remember your white balance and either set it manually or use cloudy or shade to capture the golden tones of a sunset. If you are using a point-and-shoot, it will likely have a sunset setting, which is useful to try. To minimize lens flare from the sunlight, use a lens hood or simply block the light with your hand. For slower shutter speeds, use a tripod and a cable release or self-timer. Using a longer telephoto will compress the scene and make the sun appear closer and larger. With some planning and experimenting you will create beautiful images.