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How To Capture Perfect Beach Sunset Photos

Capturing perfect beach sunset photos is no small feat.


After all, you are trying to capture every bit of the expansive and almost overwhelming glory of a beautiful sunset in one small picture. Quite the task for any who attempt it. The best landscape photographers on Instagram are total masters of it, though.

Yes, it is frustrating to admit that sometimes, in the spur of the moment (with luck on a person's side), great photos can be produced without much effort or time. But most people who want the best of the best in a rather limited amount of time will not rely on luck or chance in getting perfect photos. They realize that a plan has to be put into place and certain procedures adhered to in order to produce the perfection they are seeking within a short time frame. The best beach honeymoon destinations wouldn't be complete without a picture of the sunset!

Therefore, this article will give all who are reading the necessary steps and procedures to ensure that they can capture the perfect beach sunset photos. 

Be looking ahead of time for certain ideal places to shoot.

The first thing you want to do in order to produce the perfect beach sunset photos is to be on the lookout for the ideal location to shoot.

What location charms you? What aspects of a location would you like to have in your pictures? What fits your taste preferences? Does the location you choose look better at sunrise or sunset? What location offers the best chance to capture a great depth of field for a truly intriguing contrast?  

These are all questions to ask yourself when looking for the perfect location to capture your sunset images. 

Know what the weather will be like on the day of your shoot.

This is a must-do beforehand. You can't capture the perfect beach sunset photos if the setting sun and the sky are covered by dark clouds and impending (or down-pouring) rain. Although you can't guarantee that there won't be a pop-up shower or a last-minute cloud buildup, most likely if you choose a day that is forecasted to be fairly clear and sunny with little to no chance of precipitation, you will have a perfect sunset to capture.  

Get to your desired location at least 45 minutes before the sun goes down.

The second thing you need to know in order to capture the perfect beach sunset photos is that you want to get there way before the sun actually sets. Why? Because you want to have time to set up. You also want to know where to set up and which angles will work best. 

If you're not prepared beforehand, you will be scrambling and therefore, not able to take enough photos in the short window of time that the sun actually sets to capture quality sunset images. 

Make sure to prepare you camera!

Nothing is more important in your pre-photo preparations than making sure that your digital camera is clean and that your camera settings are right.

Not only do you need to make sure the lens is clean, but you also want to make sure your camera is in the right mode for optimal sunset shooting.

One mode you do not want your camera in when trying to capture the warm, golden colors of a sunset is the auto mode which tends to put too much white into the picture due to its white balance automation.

The best thing to do is to put your camera into aperture priority mode versus the manual mode as this is the best mode for sunsets. Simply set your camera to "A" or "Av." Then you will easily be ready to shoot.  

Use a tripod during the shoot.

The reason this is important for creating perfect beach sunset photos is simply that you don't want your photos being blurry. The best tripods for traveling will steady the camera so that there are no chances of any of the pictures being unclear, especially if you are using a longer shutter speed. Therefore, you don't have to worry about being as steady as possible; you simply choose your focal point and then point and shoot. 

Make sure to incorporate contextual images or silhouettes.

The next way to capture the perfect beach sunset photos is to know that you must make the scene in the sunset picture as interesting as possible. If your only capturing the sun with nothing else around to add context to the scene, it makes for boring sunset photos.

Look for areas where there is an idyllic scene playing out but that still has a clear view for sunset capturing. Silhouettes of palm trees make for a classic beach image. Also, taking the pics from a restaurant scene or while people play or walk on the beach are other great options.

The bottom line is, you want the scene within the sunset photos to evoke inspiration and charm the viewer.  

Choose a wide angle focal length.

Using a wide-angle focal length ensures that you capture not only the beauty of the sun and its light, but that you also capture the landscape beauty. Additionally, you don't have to worry about the dynamic range because the sun will only be a small portion of the image. 

Do not put the horizon line directly in the center of focus when capturing photos.

This is a biggie for creating perfect beach sunset photos. The reason is that if you put the horizon line in the center of the photo, you will not capture the full glory of the many brilliant colors that can be captured in a sunset. You want as much sky as possible in the photo with only a third horizon and water below.

Use a graduated neutral density filter.

Using a graduated neutral density filter makes sunset colors more vibrant. Why? Because by filtering the bright light of the sunset, you are able to capture more of the depth (multi-colors) in the sunset lighting and not so much of the white light. Also, you are able to see the forefront water scene better (which is seen as really dark without the filter).

Keep shooting after the sun has dipped.

The last tip to have perfect sunset pictures is to keep shooting after the sun goes down! Why? Because the last rays create such a color contrast as to give you deep reds, oranges, and rich blues and purples that you can't get when the sun is still above the horizon.

Capture the perfect beach memories.

Everyone wants to capture gorgeous beach sunset photos that will create lasting memories for themselves and their family/friends. So why not capture the perfect pictures that you can be proud of for years to come? Adhere to these tips and you can ensure that this happens! 

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