Thursday, February 25, 2016

How to Photograph Sunsets and Get It Right

Unedited Sunset from One Liberty Observation Deck, Philadelphia, PA

Here's the garble-de-gook 
on taking a sunset photo. 

Background
I don't typically shoot in manual 
because I would just use the camera's meter to set my settings - 
so why not let the camera set it 
saving me the step?
  
Instead, I shoot in either Aperture or Shutter/Time Priority 
and let the camera select the alternate setting for a properly exposed image. 
For example:
If I select the aperture setting, I let the camera select the shutter speed. 
If I select the shutter speed, I let the camera select the aperture setting.

When in a pinch, 
like when I don't like the camera's selection, 
I use Exposure Compensation to adjust the camera's settings. 


It's quicker that switching to manual. 

In the case of a sunset, 
the camera almost always over-exposes the image 
giving a washed out look. 

To compensate for the camera 
not understanding that I am shooting a sunset, 
this is my quick fix: 


How To Get Rich Sunsets in Camera
1. Frame the sky above the sunset with the viewfinder. 
2. Press the focus button 1/2 way, 
it doesn't need to focus at this point 
you just want the meter reading. 
3. Hold your exposure lock button (*on Canon; AE-L on Nikon) 
to maintain that meter reading.  
4. Recompose/refocus over the sunset keeping 
the meter lock button held down.
5. Fire at will. 
Your colors will be true-not washout out. 

*Once you release the meter lock button, 
those settings will be released also. 

I do shoot in manual when the lighting is the same 
and always when using studio strobes. 



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7 comments:

  1. thank you, my little canon doesn't have it but my Nikon does and i did a few practice shots holding the button and it works really great. i took a few shots of the TV colors and it workedon that to.

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  2. This is rich and lovely. It's hard to get great sky shots here in GA as the pines are always covering the view.

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  3. Thanks for sharing your tips. I'll have to really study this and give it a try.

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  4. Oh spot on, I use the same techniques, AV or TV mode, then exposure compensation to fine tune. The only thing I would add is that I usually use the 'white balance' to bring the colours to my liking, I rarely use manual other than in the studio.. That's a lovely picture..

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  5. I always fought manual mode, but when I went to Pennsylvania in October, I switched for the week, and I haven't switched back. Needless to say I am quite surprised with myself. There is still time to go back I guess, but now I have gotten use to it.

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  6. That is a stunning shot and thank you for the little guide. I shall give these a go

    mollyxxx

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