No travel blog or Instagram is complete without that perfect sunset shot, and with good reason! 

It’s probably the most photogenic time of day and you can get absolutely stunning results whether you’re taking photos in the snow or a forest. And no one seems to tire of seeing them!

If you want to learn how to take awesome photos no matter the time of day or weather, check out this article: How to Take Amazing Photos in Different Weather Conditions.

Sunset in the distance over snow capped mountains and trees.

The Perfect Sunset Shot Doesn’t Come Easily Though…

The issue with everyone loving sunset shots, is that there’s just SO many of them all over the internet. This means to stand out from the crowd you are going to have to make sure that your sunset shot is absolutely incredible.

Hopefully the tips and tricks in this article can help you stand out from the crowd and get your own awesome sunset shots!   

Take Multiple Lenses

Sunsets look great both up close and zoomed out. Make sure you take both your wide angle lens and a zoom lens so that you don’t miss anything!

By using the wide angle lens, you can pick up the entire landscape and really show off the changing colours in the sky and the surroundings. However, the sun itself will only be a small circle of light on the horizon, so not ideal if you want the sun as the focal point.

Using the zoom lens however, really shows off how amazing the sun on the horizon looks. For example below, the plane and clouds are silhouetted here with the sun in the background which makes for a powerful shot and adds a focal point.

Zoomed in photo of a sunset on the horizon, surrounded by clouds with a plane silhouette in the foreground.
Example of how using a zoom lens can capture photos just as impressive as when using a wide angle lens.

Keep Your Camera Still 

This applies to pretty much all types of photography but many people still under-rate the importance of it.

If you’re using a zoom lens to get that perfect sunset shot, it’s especially important that your camera is completely still.

Obviously when your camera is still your photos are going to be much more in focus and a higher quality. But zoom lens shots can be ruined even from the slightest movement. This is especially important if your pictures are going to be displayed on your blog. As they’ll most likely be used for the feature image (like the header of this article). Thus any blurriness will be easy to spot. 

Use a tripod if you have one, or think about buying a camera shutter release cable. Or maybe try these tactics for keeping your hands steady while taking a photo.

Take LOADS of Shots

The beauty of a sunset is that colours and light levels are always changing. As a result you can get 2 very different photos only minutes apart (see below). 

2 sunset photos side by side taken within minutes of each other showing the different colours in the sky.
Both of these photos were taken of the same beach on the same evening, only 20 mins apart!

Play With Your Camera Settings

It’s worth noting that your camera’s auto settings may not be ideal creating the perfect sunset shot.

Play around with the exposure and take a selection of shots with different exposures. See what you like best and choose your best photo! The different exposures will capture the light in different ways.

Also play around with different shutter speeds. Quicker and slower shutter speeds will again, capture the light in different ways. Just experiment and have fun with it. Plus, you’ll have lots of stunning shots to choose from at the end.

Don’t Put the Horizon in the Middle 

Most of the time I think it’s best to put the horizon in the bottom third of the photo. This is because usually the sky is what you are showing off in sunset shots. Hence, it should take up most of the photo.

That said, if you’re surrounded by incredible scenery and the colours in the sky are making the landscape look really cool, then do the opposite. Put the horizon in the top third.

Sunset captured in top third of picture over beautiful mountain landscape.
Amazing scenery so it works with the horizon in the top third.

Take Advantage of Time Lapses

There are 2 reasons why I think a time lapse can create the perfect sunset shots…

  1. The time lapse itself shows the sped up action of the sun going down, and this can look very impressive. If you are into making videos, this could be a good addition. It can also make a cool post on Instagram.
  2. When your camera is taking the time lapse it will snap a photo every few seconds or so. This means that when it’s done you’re left with both a short video clip AND an album of identical sunset shots taken at different times throughout the evening. You can then go into this album and pick the exact moment that you think was the most epic and use that as your photo! 

Plan Ahead

Whenever I’m shooting a sunset, the sun always seems to go down REALLY fast. Make sure you aren’t spending those precious minutes faffing about trying to set up the camera, or choosing the best spot for the photo (as I have done)!

Google what time the sun sets where you are, and get to the location with plenty of time. This way you have plenty of time to play around with your camera settings and capture that perfect sunset shot. Really make the most of your cameras capabilities. The results will be worth it, trust me.


Hopefully you find these tips useful! We’d love to see the sunset shots that you all take, so tag us on Instagram the next time you post one! @_peopleoftheplanet_

One half of People of the Planet. Sharing our adventures, best travel tips and travel photography! We created People of the Planet to provide a place for all travellers to learn, explore and find travel inspiration.

Author Christian Larby

One half of People of the Planet. Sharing our adventures, best travel tips and travel photography! We created People of the Planet to provide a place for all travellers to learn, explore and find travel inspiration.

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