One of the most majestic types of photographs has always been photos of sunsets. Photographing sunsets can be a highly rewarding experience, and can be done spontaneously. But as per any magnificent photograph you need to do a bit of planning, with regards to where you what to photograph the sunset, and setting your camera up with the ideal settings to capture the magical moment.
I would recommend using a wide focal length, as this will increase your visibility of the landscape or seascape in your photographs.
If you like controlling your camera’s settings then set your camera to M (Manual), but if you are not so confident then set your camera to AV (Aperture priority) and play around with your f-stop. If your camera is in AV mode then it would allow you to change the ISO as well, thus I would suggest reading the next sections as well. If your camera is in M (Manual) then this will provide you with greater flexibility to set the right conditions to your favour.
Set your camera’s metering mode to centre weighted average, as this will increase the amount of reds in your camera, thus first try to focus on a ‘red’ region. Then move your camera to the sunset and take the photograph.
I would recommend using a wide aperture range to increase the depth of field – from f/7.1 to f/16. I would first suggest using an aperture of f/16 and working your way slowly down to f/7.1. This will allow you to evaluate the depth of field to take into account any of your foreground objects in relation to your background (sunset) and how it affects your focus of the different objects.
It is essential that you use a tri-pod for shooting sunsets, as this will assist your camera in shooting photos in low light, and with would allow you to take photos at the correct ISO and shutter speed. I usually use a shutter speed of 1/30 to compensate for the f/16 aperture and high ISO levels.
Set your camera to a low ISO – depending on your light. The higher the ISO the more noise levels there will be in your photo. Thus I would not recommend that you set your ISO higher than 400, but keep it in the range of between 100 and 200. If there is some clouds in the sky where your scene gets darker, then only I would suggest to set your ISO between 400 and 800.
White balance is always a sensitive are, and if you are shooting in RAW and going to edit your photographs later on then I would skip this section.