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    3 Jan 2019

    We Asked Photographers How To Take Sunset Photos That Are Actually Good

    Put the gold in the golden hour.

    Samah El Ali / Via Instagram: @samah.elali

    We often hear photographers talk about the "golden hour" being the ideal time to whip out one's camera and shoot. This usually happens moments after sunrise or before sunset when the light is warm and soft.

    However, it can still be tricky to bring out the best colours and stop images from looking washed out. Sydney photographers Samah El Ali and Sandra Paino shared some tips.

    1. Focus on or near the sun if you want a defined outline.

    Samah El Ali / Via Instagram: @samah.elali

    Before taking the picture, tap on the part of the screen where the sun is until you see the yellow box. You can also adjust the exposure by sliding up (brighter) or down (darker).

    2. Focus on another bright part of the image if you want to blow out the sun.

    Samah El Ali / Via Instagram: @samah.elali

    If you don't want the sun to be as defined, tap on another part of the screen, such as the sky or foreground.

    3. Crop out unnecessary background.

    Sandra Paino / Via Instagram: @sandrapaino_

    If you want your subject, especially in silhouette, to be the hero of the image, Paino suggested to keep the frame clean.

    4. Flip your phone upside down.

    Samah El Ali / Via Instagram: @samah.elali

    Samah El Ali told BuzzFeed that flipping your phone so the lens is at the bottom will give you interesting photographic angles.

    "In this image, I held my phone upside down and manually focused on the rock. If the puddle was slightly deeper, it would have been perfectly symmetrical, but I quite liked this peek-a-boo result!"

    5. Get closer to your subject for sharper details.

    6. For silhouettes, look for movement.

    Sandra Paino / Via Instagram: @sandrapaino_

    "I take an organic approach when shooting silhouettes of people," Paino said. "I love the intrigue and mystery in capturing a person’s actions and movements, particularly around water."

    7. Also have the sun directly behind or slightly off-centre of the subject.

    Sandra Paino / Via Instagram: @sandrapaino_

    Paino said this is how you achieve the sharpest silhouettes. She also said to achieve this, shoot as close to sunrise or sunset to lessen the light that bleeds in the silhouette.

    8. Position yourself (the photographer) directly in front of the sun.

    Sandra Paino / Via Instagram: @sandrapaino_

    As someone who shoots silhouettes of people journalistically, Paino said she points her camera towards the sun at an angle or frame that she's happy with and waits for the right shot from there.

    9. Trees make for a good background.

    10. Plants also make for a good foreground.

    Sandra Paino / Via Instagram: @sandrapaino_

    The warm light from sunsets and sunrise makes foliage glow.

    11. When there's movement, play with long exposure.

    Samah El Ali / Via Instagram: @samah.elali

    If you don't have a third-party app for long exposure but have an iPhone with iOS 11, you can get this effect by doing the following:

    1. Go to a Live photo in the Photos app.

    2. Swipe up.

    3. Scroll to the right and select "Long Exposure".

    12. Shoot at different times during the golden hour.

    Samah El Ali / Via Instagram: @samah.elali

    The light you get at different times during the golden hour can change dramatically, so El Ali and Paino said you need to be patient, shoot a lot and experiment with angles until you get your desired image.

    "Move around your subject and watch the light change on your screen. At times, depending on the direction of the light's shine, stopping at a certain point will create a sun flare," El Ali said.

    13. Don't over-edit.

    Sandra Paino / Via Instagram: @sandrapaino_

    "Slightly adjusting the light levels can often already make your silhouette shots pop," Paino said.

    14. Avoid heavily overcast days.

    Sandra Paino / Via Instagram: @sandrapaino_

    Paino said heavy cloud days can make the glow of the golden hour look dull, so if you're after the vibrant colours, wait for those cloudless days or with scattered clouds.

    15. For a different perspective, shoot in Portrait mode.

    Samah El Ali / Via Instagram: @samah.elali

    Portrait mode gives you a cleaner background so you can focus your image on the subject. If you have the latest iPhone, you can manually control the depth of field after taking the picture if you want to change the amount of blur in the background. Otherwise, an app like this allows you to do the same.

    16. Get close to water if you can.

    Sandra Paino / Via Instagram: @sandrapaino_

    The reflection of the sun's glow on the water adds to the mood, especially as it changes colour throughout the golden hour. El Ali said even a puddle of water will do.

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