Getting the Colours of the Sunset or Sunrise

This morning I went out early to see if I could get a sunrise, I have written a post about this already, Weekend Wanderings – Sunrise Over the Flats, but I thought I might talk about how to take sunrise and sunset photos so you get the colours of what you are actually seeing.


If you look at this image, taken with my phone and processed with Instagram you can see great colours in the water, but not in the sky.  The colours were there in the sky, but they didn’t come out.  Sometimes phones and compact cameras can capture great sunsets and sunrises, but I often find it difficult with my DSLR.

I used to go out and I would be very disappointed with my images because I would get home and the colours would be so washed out.  So through experience I have taught myself how to get the brilliant colours of the sunset or sunrise.


This is how I do them.  I use spot focusing and spot metering.  If there isn’t anything in the sky to focus on, I will focus on something else, then set my focus to manual.  I then move my point so that it is on some part of the colour in the sky or a cloud.  Now that point or spot will meter for that part of the image and I will get the lovely deep colours that you get with these sort of images.

If you do overall metering, then as it gets darker your camera will try to compensate and make everything lighter, and you will lose those deep vibrant colours.

I hope this helps you the next time you are out taking photos of the sunset or sunrise.

On a side note, if you have enjoyed this post or learned something new, please remember this is how I make my living, so it would be wonderful if you would consider making a small donation.


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