How to Take Beautiful Pictures of Sunsets and Sunrises

Take Beautiful Pictures of Sunsets and Sunrises with these Tricks


colorful photo of sunset

Some common but quite beautiful shots that many landscape or outdoor photographers love to take are shots of sunrises or sunsets. Of course, this is not a surprise; as what photographer wouldn’t want to have a couple of images of the beautiful golden brown sunset? While to many, capturing sunrises and sunsets might feel like a piece of cake – in their minds, they presume that all they need is to be at the right place at the right time. But this isn’t exactly true.

To really take amazing pictures of sunrises and sunsets, there has to be the right amount of effort and interaction from the photographer. What does this mean? Well, just being at a good location when the sun starts to go below or come above the horizon doesn’t cut it. It definitely takes more than that, some things have to be in place to get good results. So, here are some guidelines that will no doubt help you take beautiful shots of sunsets or sunrises.

  • Location matters!
  • Although the most important factor to consider is the time of day (whether shooting sunrise or sunset), taking time to scout for a good location to shoot increases your chances of success. Picking a good location rather than just deciding to shoot in any random place allows you to prevent any unexpected problem. So, what are the attributes of a good location?

    • A good location is one which is away from the road and does not have people walking about – a location where there is hardly to be any disturbance from pedestrians and vehicles.
    • A good location will also give you a clear view of the horizon. Such location will not have objects or buildings that will become an obstruction when shooting.

    You might also find it important to think about the prevailing weather condition of whatever location you pick. If you are looking to have a clean and clear shoot, then you do not want to shoot on cloudy or rainy days. However, you should note that clouds do add some bit of drama to photos.

  • Decide on which one!
  • One thing you should know is that there is a difference in the colour temperature of light seen at sunrise to that seen at sunset. The light seen in the morning (during sunrise) tends to be cooler than that seen at sunset which is usually warm. Hence; you need to decide on which one you want to shoot (whether sunrise or sunset) so you can compensate for this difference. 

    Knowing the difference in colour temperature allows you to adjust accordingly. Depending on what you are going for, you can then decide to get filters that will either cool or add warmth. However, be aware that these filters will slightly reduce the quality of your image. So, you can choose not to use them and decide to adjust the colour temperature of your images during post-production.

  • Get the right gears
  • When shooting sunsets and sunrises, having a camera isn’t just enough; there are a number of gears that contribute to the overall beauty of images. One of such gear is a tripod, you just cannot shoot sunsets or sunrises without one as they are most times low light situations; hence, the need for a tripod to keep your shots steady and sharp

    Another important gear to consider is the type of lens you will be shooting with. Generally, wide-angle lenses are preferred – they allow you to capture a large part of the scene. Zoom lenses are also not bad, the best zoom lens for capturing sunsets and sunrises is one that can capture a length of 25mm and below. Prime lenses with similar lengths can also be used.

    The last set of gears that you might need to get are filters. The recommended filter for shooting sunsets and sunrises are GND filters. UV filters and polarising filters should be avoided as these filters cause hindrance by reducing the amount of light entering your camera.

    1. Compositions still matter

    Every photographer knows how important compositions can be when taking pictures. No matter what you are shooting, you need compositions to help your frame and organize your shots. And this is no different in this case. One good composition that especially helps produce good sunset and sunrise photos is the rule of third. While you can occasionally break this rule, it is just more appealing when important elements like the sun, horizon and silhouettes are moved away from the centre.


    There is indeed no difficulty in capturing great sunset and sunrise shots, all you really need to do is prepare. You just don’t want to jump into it, rather, you need to make a plan. The tips show what aspects need proper attention and how you to go by them. Just follow them through and see how beautiful your images will look.

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