September 27, 2008

Simple Sunset Trick

There are many ways in post to make your sunset photos sing. But what if you don’t like to mess around in post? Here’s a simple way to jazz up your sunset photos in the camera. Under-expose. If you purposely under-expose, you’ll over-saturate the colors in the sunset. When I made this image, the color spectrum wasn’t as full as I’d like it to be so I simply under-exposed by one and one half stops and boom! Out came the color.

You’ll have to experiment with the proper amount of under-exposure. Too much under-exposure and everything will get lost in the shadows. The image will become noisy and ugly. Not enough under-exposure and the color won’t pop. But since 95% of you are using a digital camera it’s no big deal. Silicon is cheap! Shoot two or three shots, each with a different amount of exposure compensation.

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This post sponsored by the Digital SLR Store

Join the conversation! 26 Comments

  1. Nice Scott. You can also trick your digital camera by setting your white balance to fluoresce. Gives a punch in some of the colors.

    Reply
  2. Nice Scott. You can also trick your digital camera by setting your white balance to fluoresce. Gives a punch in some of the colors.

    Reply
  3. fluorescence :)

    Reply
  4. fluorescence :)

    Reply
  5. You should get a similar effect of increasing the exposure. That is supposed to improve colour saturation.

    Second. Underexposing is a vital part of the overexposure protection in modern cameras. Supposedly two stops underexposure is easily fixed in photoshop.

    Reply
  6. You should get a similar effect of increasing the exposure. That is supposed to improve colour saturation.

    Second. Underexposing is a vital part of the overexposure protection in modern cameras. Supposedly two stops underexposure is easily fixed in photoshop.

    Reply
  7. Great tip. Now what about Sunrises. I use a 17-40 Canon L and I want to reduce those Nasty lens flares.

    Thanks for all you tips…

    Reply
  8. Great tip. Now what about Sunrises. I use a 17-40 Canon L and I want to reduce those Nasty lens flares.

    Thanks for all you tips…

    Reply
  9. Does the metering mode matter much with these sunsets?
    I usually find that if there is a field or something dark in the foreground, and I use Evaluative / Partial / Center-Weighted Average metering (my 400D doesn’t have spotmetering) the sky often only gets exposed well if I meter on the sky only, then recompose to have the field in the frame.

    What metering modes do you usually use when shooting landscape / sunsets? (Or should I simply wing it and go full manual? )

    Reply
  10. Does the metering mode matter much with these sunsets?
    I usually find that if there is a field or something dark in the foreground, and I use Evaluative / Partial / Center-Weighted Average metering (my 400D doesn’t have spotmetering) the sky often only gets exposed well if I meter on the sky only, then recompose to have the field in the frame.

    What metering modes do you usually use when shooting landscape / sunsets? (Or should I simply wing it and go full manual? )

    Reply
  11. Why care about WB if you shoot RAW(whice I hope you all do,) unless you guys have a VERY god reason to shoot JPEG instead or both!

    Kim

    Reply
  12. Why care about WB if you shoot RAW(whice I hope you all do,) unless you guys have a VERY god reason to shoot JPEG instead or both!

    Kim

    Reply
  13. Kim, I find that getting the WB right in the first place, among many other settings for that matter, helps reduce the time adjusting photos in post.

    Reply
  14. Kim, I find that getting the WB right in the first place, among many other settings for that matter, helps reduce the time adjusting photos in post.

    Reply
  15. Love all the talk about RAW but we cannot all afford cameras that shoot raw (at least not yet). I’ll be the first to ask this question… Where did you shoot this one Scott?

    Also I would love to hear you guys talk about the decision process you go through with regards to aspect ratio and cropping. (just a hint). possibly start with this photo was it before you pressed the shutter? is it something you saw in post?

    Awesome photo, love the program, thanks for everything, yada yada yada…

    Reply
  16. Love all the talk about RAW but we cannot all afford cameras that shoot raw (at least not yet). I’ll be the first to ask this question… Where did you shoot this one Scott?

    Also I would love to hear you guys talk about the decision process you go through with regards to aspect ratio and cropping. (just a hint). possibly start with this photo was it before you pressed the shutter? is it something you saw in post?

    Awesome photo, love the program, thanks for everything, yada yada yada…

    Reply
  17. @American I shot this at Canon Beach, OR. Most of your post is off topic but I will try to answer it in future posts.

    Reply
  18. @American I shot this at Canon Beach, OR. Most of your post is off topic but I will try to answer it in future posts.

    Reply
  19. we discussed this at the ANPW and i was really surprised because i had always thought it was the opposite: better to under-expose than over-expose. But when you shoot in RAW you have a lot more flexibility. I tried this suggest on some sunset we saw in the Grand Tetons and by over-exposing i was able to keep a lot of the highlights on the mountain tops without losing details of the trees below.

    Reply
  20. we discussed this at the ANPW and i was really surprised because i had always thought it was the opposite: better to under-expose than over-expose. But when you shoot in RAW you have a lot more flexibility. I tried this suggest on some sunset we saw in the Grand Tetons and by over-exposing i was able to keep a lot of the highlights on the mountain tops without losing details of the trees below.

    Reply
  21. For several months I have concentrated on getting backgrounds right (Scott has been saying this forever). This tip has made more of a difference to me than any other advice I’ve followed. Right on Scott.

    Reply
  22. For several months I have concentrated on getting backgrounds right (Scott has been saying this forever). This tip has made more of a difference to me than any other advice I’ve followed. Right on Scott.

    Reply
  23. Used this little trick 2 nights ago, got some great snaps. I did it with the EV comp though. Love my 30D, she’s not the newest kid in town but she knows how to treat me right!

    Reply
  24. Used this little trick 2 nights ago, got some great snaps. I did it with the EV comp though. Love my 30D, she’s not the newest kid in town but she knows how to treat me right!

    Reply
  25. […] in posts on a Simple Sunset Trick, 10 Things I Know Now That I Wish I’d Known Back Then, and Exposure & Basic Camera […]

    Reply
  26. […] in posts on a Simple Sunset Trick, 10 Things I Know Now That I Wish I’d Known Back Then, and Exposure & Basic Camera […]

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