Photography Cheat Sheet: Settings for Photographing Sunsets

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Not satisfied with your sunset photos? Try shooting with the camera settings suggested in today’s featured photography cheat sheet!

Sunsets are among everyone’s favorites to photograph for the dramatic burst of color they add, especially for landscape snaps. But let’s face it; we don’t always get shots that do them justice. Sometimes, it’s actually the camera settings that are to blame. Today’s photography cheat sheet comes with settings and tips you can try for your next sunset shoot.

The cheat sheet below, put together by Digital Camera World, is short but sweet. Aside from providing camera settings and a lens suggestion, it also has a few extra tips that should help you get stunning and properly exposed results.

As the cheat sheet cautioned, the key to great sunset photos is to watch your exposure. Exposing for the sky will give you the best colors. However, if you’re shooting a scene with a foreground you don’t want to underexpose or turn into silhouette — as is often the case for landscape photography — you’ll have to make some adjustments.

To make the most of your sunset shoot, it’s best to set your camera’s exposure mode and focus mode to Manual. Set the aperture to f16, the shutter speed to 1/30 or longer to compensate for the small aperture, and ISO 100 to avoid noise. An 18-24mm lens has a wide focal length that will allow you to capture as much of the scene as possible. Lastly, check if the drive mode is set to single-shot and the white balance to daylight.

For the next step, you’ll have to balance the exposure so your foreground doesn’t become underexposed. For this, an ND grad filter will come handy. If you’re not familiar with this filter and how it works, we suggest checking out this photography cheat sheet. Don’t have an ND filter yet? You can simply take two shots — one exposed for the sky and other for the land or foreground. Then, simply combine them in your go-to image editing software.

Want more useful photography tips and tricks like this? Don’t forget to check out our growing collection of photography cheat sheets!