How to Get The Best Sunset Photos on Canvas

by Eric Von Lehmden | April 22, 2014

sunset photos on canvasLake Travis, ATX

I don’t know if there is anything more photo worthy than a beautiful sunset. They never cease to amaze me as I witness the beauty that God creates with the sky as his canvas. They are always different and even change as the sun sets further and further into the horizon. So how do you make sure you get the right shot to create sunset photos on canvas? Well, there are several ways to go about it (depending on your style). I will share the way I approach getting dramatic sunset photos.

Let’s first talk about what makes a good sunset to photograph. Again, this is all personal opinion. To me I like drama in the sky. Clouds can provide this drama, but it could just be the colors produced by the sunset.

Timing is key. If your goal is printing sunset photos on canvas then pay attention to the sky. This is one reason I always try to travel with a camera. You never know when the chance to catch a great sunset will be. From the moment a sunset begins there are photo opportunities. As the sun gets progressively lower you will notice that the sunset will fade and become bluer. If you have the time to capture the entire sunset that is fantastic. You have a wide range of time to get your shot. If you are just grabbing and going then there are a few other tricks to do in camera to make sure you get the most dramatic sunset shot possible.

sunset photos on canvasClouds make this sunset more dramatic.

While you can get some great sunset photos from your iPhone or Samsung there are some limitations. There is some fine tuning that only a DSLR can provide. If you do have a DSLR the best setting to shoot sunsets (and everything in my opinion) is in Manual mode. To get more dramatic sunset photos, especially in the early part of one, is to underexpose. The easiest way to do that with your DSLR is to shoot in Manual mode.

Why Manual mode? Because when you shoot in Auto or Program mode your camera is automatically trying to expose the photo properly. That can work sometimes with sunsets, but often times those modes will make the sunset too light. This takes out all the drama and color out of the photo.

sunset photos on canvasCreating this "dark" sunset was possible by using Manual mode on a DSLR

You can get an idea of the correct exposure by first setting the camera to Auto. Get your reading. Then switch to Manual mode and make your shutter speed faster than what the Auto setting was.

Then ensures you get rich colors with a little more drama in the sky. Now, if you happen to shoot in RAW mode and you have an editing software like Adobe Lightroom or Camera RAW you can always adjust the exposure afterwards. But I always try to get the photo as close to how I want it printed on canvas straight out of the camera.

I would love to hear your tips for getting beautiful sunset photos on canvas. You can share them on our Facebook page.

sunset photos on canvasThe drama in this cloudless sunset is made by the streaking plane in the atmosphere.

 

sunset photos on canvas

These two photos (above and below) were from the same sunset only minutes apart from each other. That is how much the color changed in the course of a sunset.

sunset photos on canvas

 

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Tips-n-Tricks #192

Photo project: Try using a wide angle lens for the next week. This will help expand your creativity on how you compose your subject and what kind of photographs you take overall. Note - no zooming allowed...you can zoom with your feet.


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