Landscape Sunset Photography

Landscape Sunset Photography: Be on Time and Patient for This 2023

Capturing a landscape sunset photography is probably the most desired moment in the world for photographers. If you like to photograph sunrises and sunsets, but you don’t get the desired results; in today’s article I will try to summarize the most important points to keep in mind when trying to take this type of photography.

Landscape sunset photography invites us to rethink the concept of sunset or dusk, not only because of its beauty, but also because of what it can make us feel or transmit. For some people, sunsets are associated with moments of reflection, as it is a moment that marks the end of the day and invites you to reflect on what you have accomplished.

If the metaphor extends to the sunset of life, our last moments are a time to remember all the years and moments of our lives. For others, the sunset is just a moment of peace and relaxation after the hustle and bustle of the day, and it can also be a moment that marks a change, since everything starts anew with the next sunrise.

Landscape Sunset Photography in Winter

Light is made up of different colors, each with its own range of wavelengths. Blue and green light have shorter wavelengths, which means they bounce and scatter more easily.

At sunset, these colors filter out, leaving longer reds and oranges that will melt your heart. But there is something else in winter. With low humidity and fresh air, sunsets become brighter, especially after rain.

This means fewer particles that can wash out colors and create the hazy sunsets more common in summer. The earth is also closer to the sun because it rotates in the winter, and the angle of the sun allows the sunset colors to last longer.

The final ingredient: clouds, which reflect dazzling colors back to us. The clouds act as a screen, making it even brighter.

Plan And Be on Time

Shorter days mean earlier sunsets, a view of the sky you won’t want to miss. Plan to get there about half an hour early to check out the skyline.

Of course, before you take out your camera, you should plan what you are going to do and when. Speaking of time, nowadays it’s easy to tell when the sun rises or sets (there are websites that inform you about it, and there’s even an app like this for iOS).

Sometimes the story of capturing a landscape sunset photography starts many hours before the actual sunset or even happens on a different day, so always be vigilant. Observe the places you pass by and think about the glow of the setting sun. What does this place look like at sunset?

Since you’ll know when you will see the sunset on the horizon, it is convenient to arrive at your pre-selected location at least half an hour in advance. This allows you to choose where to place the camera with the perfect composition by allowing you to test it in multiple locations.

By arriving early, you can also review the lenses you’ll be using and decide which one will work best for the particular image you’re trying to capture. So when the show starts, you can change your focus and do some more testing, but it’s better to do it early.

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Landscape Sunset Photography
Landscape Sunset Photography

The Importance of The Tripod and Filters in Landscape Sunset Photography

While you can crank up the ISO and stabilizer to get decent results, the basic technique is definitely long exposure during the day. In other words, it’s recommended to set the ISO as low as possible, to produce as little noise as possible, and to close at an aperture where the lens works best and provides depth of field (above f11 is a good number).

This, together with the lack of light, means that you need long exposures, so the stabilization provided by a tripod will be essential. You can also force the exposure to be longer than necessary to achieve the attractive effects that are achieved with long exposure photography, such as washed-out water or clouds with motion effects.

There are dozens of different types of filters available on the market. Let’s take a look at which ones are the most important and which ones will really benefit your work.

  • Neutral density filters: possibly the most important.

With them you can extend the exposure time to get different images. Some examples: getting a silk effect in the water, moving clouds or car tracks on the road.

  • Degraded neutral density filters:

If you are only interested in preventing light from entering a specific area of the sensor, i.e. to get a darker image, but only a part of it, then these types of filters are for you.

Its main function is to detect the part of the sky where the sun is, thus avoiding burning our Landscape Sunset Photography.

  • Inverted filters:

These types of filters are good for landscape sunset photography because they have a darker central area that is sharper at the end of the filter. In this way, these filters will make it easier to properly expose the sun sphere when the sun is just above the horizon.

Landscape Sunset Photography
Landscape Sunset Photography

Using Manual Mode and Spot Metering

It goes without saying that to achieve the above-mentioned techniques you’ll have to override your camera’s auto exposure mode, which is definitely not the best for this type of landscape sunset photography.

Also, you cannot trust matrix metering, which measures the whole scene and determines the value of the whole scene. During sunset, it is highly recommended to change the light measurement mode to spot mode to measure the areas that interest you the most.

Here everything will depend on the situation; but the usual thing is to measure the light in the sky so that its shadow is respected. By the way, the shaded areas are completely black, creating consistently attractive silhouettes.

Another way is to underexpose based on the information provided by the light meter in metering mode, which basically means the same thing. Now, if what you are interested in capturing includes details in both lights and shadows, the strategy must be different. In this case, you have two possibilities. Use a graduated neutral density filter, or take at least two exposures (one for each area of contrast), which you then set up on the computer and do a process similar to HDR.

Use RAW Format or Pay Attention to White Balance

As we always recommend, shooting RAW is ideal, as it has clear advantages in hindsight. One of the things that can help you, in addition to delivering the highest quality shot, is not having to worry about white balance, which can be important in this type of photography. The camera’s automatic white balance softens the reddish glow characteristic of landscape sunset photography.

So, if you don’t want to use RAW, put it directly in shadow mode, which makes the orange tones pop more.

Try using silhouettes. The important thing is that they are real silhouettes. It is necessary to pay attention to the exposure of the silhouettes, since if they are overexposed, they can confuse the eyes, indicating that they are poorly exposed objects.

The silhouette game consists of superimposing a silhouette pattern in the foreground on a sunset background.

Use the Rule of Thirds

Although we always say that creativity is the most important thing in photography and the rules are to be broken. Since this article is about landscape sunset photography, it is highly recommended to follow the well-known rule of thirds.

You know, the one that tells you that the focus of the image must be at the intersection of some imaginary lines that divide the image into three parts from top to bottom and left to right.

In this case, this rule that helps you to structure the composition is very useful, since it is generally not recommended to place the horizon, or the sun (if there is one) in the center of the image.

Landscape Sunset Photography
Landscape Sunset Photography

The Most Important Thing for A Good Landscape Sunset Photography Is to Have Patience

A constant rule of thumb with landscape sunset photography is patience. Sunsets can be very long.

The blue hour (also known as the golden hour) just before and after sunset is one of the best times for photography. During this time, the scene can change a lot and you never know when the most exciting moment will be.

The clouds, which are always interesting for this type of photography (and in many cases even become the main protagonists), can change a lot in time intervals and have a very different brightness.

Remember that due to the tilt of the earth in relation to the sun and the fact that the weather can be very changeable, fall and spring are often the best times to capture a spectacular sunset or sunrise photo. So go ahead and have fun.

Cristian Valles is a Miami-based professional photographer. With 14 years of experience in studio and outdoor photography, you can be sure to get the best shots to capture your most cherished moments. Visit to view his work, find information about his services, or schedule an appointment.

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