10 Best Sunset Photography Ideas

When it comes to some of the most popular photography shots out there, there’s no doubt that sunset photography is one of, if not the most popular form.

Whether it’s on a smartphone or on an actual camera, nothing beats the moment when the sun begins to set and creates warm tones throughout the sky. 

10 Best Sunset Photography Ideas

But with so many other people also taking these types of photos, what can you do to help your photos stand out from the rest of the crowd? 

In this guide, we’ll provide you with 10 of the best sunset photography ideas, which will not only help to enhance your photography skills but will also help to ensure that your sunset photos are better than the rest.

So, whether you’re just looking for some cool shots for your social media feed, or need some competition-worthy photos, then this guide should be able to help!

1. Shoot Silhouettes 

A popular choice for taking sunset photographs has always been to shoot silhouettes, but just because it’s popular doesn’t mean that you should ignore it, as it looks amazing, and will still help your shots to stand out when done correctly. 

Creating a silhouette is super easy to do, all you need to do is place the subject of your shot in front of the sun as it is setting.

Then, increase the exposure of the sky, which should help to create a darkened and shadowy figure that contrasts perfectly with the background. 

Whether you shoot with animals, people, trees, buildings, or whatever other subjects you want, try experimenting with different angles using this method, and you’ll be sure to create some excellent-looking sunset photos! 

2. Long Exposure

If you’re looking for a particularly dreamy or ethereal effect on your sunset photos, then utilizing long exposure is the best way to do so.

This technique involves deploying a particularly low shutter speed, which allows you to capture the motion of an object over some time. 

You could use this technique for many different elements in your sunset photography, whether it’s the clouds, a body of water, or something else. It is worth noting that if you plan on doing this, you’ll want to use a tripod to prevent any camera shake. 

3. Choose Unique Subjects

One of the reasons why sunset photography can feel so repetitive to some people is because the subjects that feature in the photographs never truly change. Everyone is used to seeing people, trees, and beaches, so why not try and capture something unique?

If there’s a particularly impressive building with unique architectural features near you, why not try and capture it during the magic of sunset? Or how about using the sunset to shed some unique lighting on some local street art? 

The key to great sunset photography is to think outside of the box and to be as creative as possible, so try to free yourself from the constraints of traditional sunset photography.

4. Use Reflections

A classic way of capturing a gorgeous sunset is to make use of reflections, which help to increase the amount of light in the photo and can help to make your shots warm and bright.

Whether you use a wet beach, a lake or pond, or even the sea, reflections can lead to the creation of some especially beautiful photos, and they’re not too difficult to achieve either.

Use a tripod to prevent camera shake, and try plenty of different angles, try to capture the sun’s reflection in the body of water you’re using, and try to see if you can include some interesting subjects in the foreground too. 

Playing around with the exposure is also a great way to create some unique shots too. 

5. Aim Into The Sun

While many people simply like to use the lighting of the sun for their shots, why not focus your attention on the beauty of the sun instead? 

Try to keep your shot focused on the sun itself, shooting into the light to help provide you with some excellent-looking shots, and while they’ll remain relatively simple, they’ll still look great. 

A low ISO and narrow aperture will help to prevent any overexposure, and a lens hood will also prevent any unwanted flaring, so give it a try sometime! 

6. Cityscapes

What better way to shed some sunlight on the city you love the most than by taking some excellent sunset photography with the city as your backdrop? 

If you can find some excellent vantage points, such as a rooftop, then you’ll be able to capture the essence of the city during those precious golden moments in the evening as the sun begins to set. 

You can even choose to highlight certain landmarks or your favorite spots in the city, and it’s a great way to highlight the combination of the urban and natural worlds! 

7. Use The Sun For Lighting

Who says that sunset photography has to include the sun? By shooting in the reverse direction to the sun, you’ll be able to make use of that incredible golden lighting for a wide range of different shots, and it’s especially great for portraits.

The golden light can help make the subjects of the photo appear softer, and by using a wide aperture, you’ll be able to create a much more shallow depth of field, blurring out the background, and placing the focus solely on the subject. 

8. Frame The Sun

Another unique way of capturing the sun during its golden moments is by using various objects and structures to frame the sun itself as the subject of the photo. 

Not only does this help to draw people’s attention to the sun as the main subject of the photo, but it can also be used in clever ways to add plenty of depth and perspective to your photography.

Try plenty of different angles for unique results and perspectives that you wouldn’t normally get from your usual sunset photography. 

9. Capture Cloudscapes

Using the clouds in your sunset photography is another excellent way to shake up your usual sunset photography.

Not only can they help to add plenty of texture and depth to your photos, but if you can find an interesting cloud formation, then you’ll be able to capture unique photos that no one can replicate. 

For the best results, try to keep the horizon line so that the clouds in the sky take up most of the frame, and then you can adjust the exposure to capture all of the different colors and patterns created in the sky. 

10. Sunbursts

The final way you can add a magical touch to your sunset photography is by utilizing sunbursts. 

To capture a sunburst, try to position the sun behind an object of your choice, and then use a narrow aperture to intentionally create a sunburst pattern in the photographs. 

Sunbursts can be both eye-catching and unique, and are sure to help your photos stand out amongst the rest! 

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, these 10 sunset photography ideas will help you to create some of the best photos you’ve taken ever, so go out there and try some of the ideas out today! 

Laura McNeill
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