How to get Stunning Colour in your Sunset Photographs

Master your camera’s Exposure.

Sunset at Llanfair Caereinion, Wales.

Do you take photographs of glorious sunsets only to view them on your computer and they are really washed out?

Do you want to get the zing back next time you are out with your camera?

There is a stupidly simple solution.

It’s not that you are a bad photographer or that your camera isn’t up to the job.

Getting the Light Right

So why are the images so far wrong?

It’s an effect caused by not only camera, but every other camera too.

The technical bit is that your camera is trying to record the scene as though it’s light, when in actual fact it’s twilight. It has similar problems with very light scenes, like snowy landscapes, which it will make darker than they should be.

The solution for twilight skies is to tell the camera to your picture. You just have to let it know who’s boss!

Exposure compensation at -2.0

For a system camera, set your mode to A (aperture priority) then lower exposure to -2. Consult your instruction manual if you don’t know how to do this.

If you have some pictures you’ve already taken, you can do the same thing in a photo editing programme by clicking on levels in adjustments and moving the grey (mid tone ) slider towards the right until the colours return.

Not much colour with no exposure compensation.
Make a levels adjustment.

You may still need to add more colour back with another adjustment called channel mixer. Move the red slider slightly to the right and the green slider slightly to the left.

Colour closer to the original scene.

The best solution is always to get the shot right in camera as you are less likely to have any overdone highlights or dark areas that can’t be recovered.

If you are looking for more help with your Photo Editing, I’ve done more in depth tutorials aimed at beginners on medium including this one

How to turn a portrait into pop art

which is great for learning several techniques and becoming comfortable with layers.

If you are looking for hints and tips on using your system camera, there are two step by step guides to get you started here

3 Keys to mastering Aperture like a Boss

and here

3 keys to mastering shutter speed like a Boss

Let me know in the comments if there is a subject you’d like me to address.

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Many thanks in advance,


Award winning Artist and Photographer still learning and evolving. Blogging the journey.

Award winning Artist and Photographer still learning and evolving. Blogging the journey.