17 May 2020

5 Tips on taking really good Sunset shot!

5 tips for stunning sunset shots

A few days back I took a sunset shot near a lake to our house. The evening was clear and filled with colors as the sun was setting. and boy, did the shot come out well!
I had just finished my work and was wondering if I would have just enough time to get out and capture the setting sun.
Rather than thinking too much, I actually picked up my camera and stepped out. 
Continue Reading if you want to know a little bit about my photo-taking story, otherwise, you can scroll down to seeing the shot I am so proud of. I also share with you some important tips for capturing great shots in the evening and how to use your camera to its fullest.

Gear Talk

Here is my current line up of the lenses. These includes my favorite Canon 70-200L f4, Sigma 17-50f2.8, Canon 50f1.8 and Canon 24f2.8 (sold 5/16/20) lenses. 
My Current camera body in use is a canon 80d bought in 2018.

Story of the sunset shot

Now, Let's continue with the story from the evening. So, I picked up my camera where the 70-200L was already mounted and rushed outside.
I had a couple of spots in my head from where I could get interesting perspectives, but I didn't have enough time at hand. It was already getting dark which means the window of opportunity was much shorter.

My first stop was near a community outside our home but I immediately notice that there is a power line in the frame and It would render the photo completely useless. Hence I start driving. It's been 15 mins since the idea struck and time is running out.
I rush the car down 184th street, and It dawns upon me a spot where Umika and I had stopped during cycling to look at the sunset one of the days. From that spot, the view of the sunset is clear. However, where Will I park the car? I shouldn't have brought the car!!!

I arrive at the point and the view is gorgeous. There is a huge tree by the river and that could be used in some interesting manner. But there is no place to park the car. I am by the roadside. literally!

So, I did what a lot of Floridians do when they catch fish in these ponds. I pulled the car into the swale carefully looking at the traffic from the back and parked there.

QUickly got out and got in the position and began taking shots. I went to the bottom, just by the waters, and took some shots. Then looking for an interesting perspective, Noticed the hanging flowers from the trees and took some shots. Finally, after taking a few shots and feeling satisfied, I decided to make the most of this very colorful scene and go to the bigger lake on the other side. My gut feeling was that the sunset view is better and will still be available with a better vantage point from this other lake.

View this post on Instagram

Here is the first shot I want to share from this evening. Work has been crazy these days, but making photos refreshes me. I took my camera out today around 7.30 with myself and decided to make some sunset images over the lake. Wanted to find some interesting foreground but it was getting late and sun was about to set. Interestingly got a Delonix ( known as ਗੁਲਮੋਹਰ, gulmohar) tree by the water and used it's beautiful branches for a perspective. Shot on 80d with 70-200l handheld. This shot was f11. Happy with the outcome although I notice a bit of lens flare in the shot. #sunsetphotography After this shot ran towards the lake to see if I could capture the setting sun over water. Will share that soon

A post shared by saurabh mittal (@isaurabhmittal) on

Tips for Taking great shots in the evening

Let us go through some of my no-nonsense tips for taking greats shots.
  1. Shoot RAW. If your camera doesn't allow RAW, then shoot at the highest resolution and disable any compression or any post-processing which your camera does.
  2. Use a Tripod. Again, Not mandatory but not everyone has rock-solid steady hands. Its a recipe for clear photos especially when the light is dimming. Don't think that shooting handheld signifies anything. Use a Tripod.
  3. If you don't have a tripod then either find you some support or a posture that is not susceptible to movements. Find a comfortable position to shoot in.
  4. Where to focus: My philosophy while shooting the sunset of any such large star is to always find something interesting with the frame. I am not shooting with a very long lens so it's difficult to find a surreal shot of a sunset or Sunrise, instead, I try to think of something interesting in the foreground or the scene of the sunset. Palm Trees, highrises, water, or birds. There has to be something which makes the photo interesting.
  5. If you notice the above shot, I actually focused on the tree by the bank of the lake and the flower suspended from the tree, which made for an interesting composition.
  6. Experiment by Focusing on different parts: For example, I shot a few photos focusing on the sun where these flowers go out of focus. Then I took a few shots where I focused on the flowers and the sun became out of focus. The interesting this is that the sun is so huge and bright, that It will never go out of focus from the image. So try new perspectives.
  7. Play with different Depth of fields (F Count). I normally start to shoot at F4 at a minimum since I have noticed that the best sharpness for most of my lenses is observed at that level, however, your case could be different. Especially for shots like this, I also go higher. This one, in particular, was shot at F11 which led to the sun being fairly sharp as well.
  8. Exposure: Again, I try to take different approaches to different situations.  I don't shoot fully Manual but in Aperture Priority Mode. I would normally use my camera to sense the exposure from the darkest portion of the frame to expose it well. However, in this particular case, I wanted the magic of silhouette to come up. Hence, Neither I exposed the flowers fully nor did I fully use the exposure setting provided by the Sun which would have further darkened the Flowers and probably completely overshadowed the photo.
  9. Rule of thirds- something to consider while taking photos always to make the photos pop.


So, in conclusion we see that for taking some great shots, you need to understand some of the basics of how the camera works, you need to experimenting while making these photos, in terms of focusing or exposures and see what comes out best. It also always pays to have some creative play with the backgrounds, foregrounds, or elements of interest which can be added to the photo. More than anything, don't be scared to go out and try these things out. While there is a zillion of great photos out there, you can always find something interesting or creative when you begin trying things out.

So, these were some of my tips and inputs on taking great shots in the evening. 
What are some of yours? share in the comments section below and I would love to hear from you.

if you liked this, check out some other related posts on how to taking great abstract shots, or read about what motivates me towards photography.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Tell me what you think?