Foto Ruta's Guide to Photographing Sunsets

With Spring in full swing and Summer right around the corner, it’s the time of the year for being outdoors and enjoying the glories of warmer weather, brighter colours, not to mention the stunning sunsets that London is famous for.  How to make the best of sunset picture taking season? Find out below!

Pick the right spot:

Essential to getting your snapshot of the perfect London sunset is picking the right place to capture it. There are plenty of places to explore and discover, here are a few of our favourites:

 The Hills:

Photo by Daniel Ladenhauf

Primrose Hill is a great spot for gorgeous sunset colored skies and Parliament Hill makes for a sunset spot with the perfect London skyline as backdrop.

 The Bridges:

Photo by Stuart Webster

Photo by Stuart Webster

Bridges for sunset-watching and photographing abound. The Waterloo Bridge was a go-to spot for renowned Romantic artist William Turner, whilst Millennium Bridge has the benefit of being pedestrian which means you have more flexibility to move around and play with camera angles and positions.

 The Parks:

Photo by ale

Photo by ale

Richmond Park is a national nature reserve, more specifically a deer park, which means you can take photographs of the sunset in a natural setting and in the company of lovely little animals. Hyde Park allows you to bring flowers into the picture.

 The Buildings:

photo by Matt Buck

photo by Matt Buck

The Shard is probably one of the most famous spots for sunset tourism and gives you a super high 360 degree vantage point. If you want to catch a great dinner as well, stop by Sushisamba. Although not really a building, the London Eye is one of the most well-known sunset spots in the city, just keep in mind that tripods on Ferris wheels don’t go well!

 Look for Aesthetic Effect

photo by Roy Hopwood

photo by Roy Hopwood

A picture of the sunset need not necessarily be of the sun going down. It can be a picture of a silhouette, whether of a person a building or animal with the fiery sky as backdrop, or it can be a reflection on a window or on water. Keep in mind that to get a good shot of the sun as the central element of the picture, you will need either a good zoom, or a telephoto lens.

photo by Jaume Escofet

photo by Jaume Escofet

In terms of technique, remember that the lighting will be progressively lower as the sun goes down. This means that if you go for slower shutter speed to gain exposure time, movement will also be captured on your image. You can choose to incorporate this to your composition, use a tripod or alter one of the other exposure variables. If you use a higher ISO/DIN variable, then you will have more grain/texture in your image. If you modify the aperture of the lens, then you will modify the depth of field. You can also shoot at different exposure levels to get the light just right (underexposing tends to give richer colours while overexposing tones them down), or play with the white balance to alter the tones.

 Accessories and apps

photo by Colm Linehan

photo by Colm Linehan

If you have access to a good zoom and telephoto and wide-angle lenses, by all means make use of them and don’t forget a tripod.

There are also some great apps such as Sun Seeker which has a lot of useful information regarding the position of the sun and sunrise, sunset, dusk and twilight times. Expositor is an exposure calculator that takes into consideration different combinations of exposure settings in relation to the conditions you are shooting in. 

Finally, don’t forget a folding chair or a picnic blanket if you’re heading to a hill or a park, and of course, a good bottle of wine!