Q&A: How to take great sunset photos

I’m no expert, but one thing I think I’m good at is capturing a beautiful sunset.  There are a couple of tricks you can use, but the one I prefer involves a flash, diffuser, polarizer, and exposing for the sky.

Here’s my gear list:

  1. Nikon SB-700 Speedlight (http://www.adorama.com/NKSB700AFU.html)
  2. Gary Fong LightSphere (http://www.adorama.com/GALSCSM.html)
  3. Manfrotto 5001B 74-Inch Nano Stand (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001M4HXB2/ref=pe_385040_30332200_TE_item)
  4. Hoya Polarizer (http://www.amazon.com/Hoya-Circular-Polarizer-Multi-Coated-Filter/dp/B00344R250/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1410017706&sr=8-5&keywords=hoya+polarizer

When the sun is setting or is just about to set, expose for the sky without using the flash.  You should get a silhouette image with a beautiful looking sky.  The Polarizer will make your sky pop by darkening the colors.  Turn your polarizer until you see the color level you prefer.  Here’s an image without flash:

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(Nikon D800, F2.8, 1/80, ISO 250, 50mm, no flash)

So, here’s where the magic happens.  Just add a pop of flash from a 45 degree angle from the subjects.  This is why I use off camera flash with the stand and transmitters.  You can use on camera flash too, but you’ll have to adjust the strength or diffuse more depending on your distance from your subject.

And Voila!  Beautiful sunset image:

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(Nikon D800, 3.2, 1/200, ISO-250, Off Camera Flash)

If you’d like, you can enhance the colors a bit in photoshop, but using this method will give you pretty amazing photos straight out of the camera too!

Experiment with your gear.  You don’t have to have all the gear I listed above, the key is to use manual mode to expose for the sky and then pop a flash!  Have fun!

xoxoxo

DeAnna

 

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