Manual tricks for better beach sunset portraits

Manual tricks for better beach sunset portraits on your dslr

ISO: 200,  f2.8, 1/400

Welcome to part 2 for improving your beach sunset portraits! In case you missed the memo, I’m sharing my beach sunset tips in a three part series!

Make sure to check out my other posts for better beach sunset portraits:

Part 1: Capturing the photo. Composition tricks for better sunset portraits on the beach! (These tips are for both DSLR and phone users alike!)

Part 2: Manual tricks for better beach sunset portraits. (That’s why your here!)

Part 3: How to edit beach sunset portraits. (Coming soon!)

So without further adieu,

Manual tricks to better beach sunset portraits:

1. Keep your ISO low.

There will be dark spots in your sunset photos, and you want to keep these spots as clean as possible (aka no static or graininess) by keeping your ISO low. Once you go above 800 you have a risk of static. I recorded my settings under each photo in this post so you could get an idea for what I tend toward. I like to keep them as dark as I can to capture all the colors of the sunset without blacking out the subject! (In photoshop, I later lighten the subject and darken the background so I just need a happy medium.)

2. Switch to the shade setting

I usually like to just keep the light setting on auto. Auto usually works out well for me. But I’ve started switching to shade when trying to take advantage of the golden hour. This allows more of those warm tones from sunset into the photo!

Manual tricks for better beach sunset portraits with dslr

ISO: 200,  f2.8, 1/400

3. Manual selection.

Sometimes I need this. With so much direct sun in my photos, my camera will have trouble deciding what to focus on and try to focus on the sun, especially if the sun is in the center between the subjects like below… So I switch to manual selection to tell the camera exactly where to focus. And remember, it’s always best to focus on the eyes if you can! But sometimes that’s hard with moving toddlers…

Manual tricks for better beach sunset portraits with dslr

ISO 800, f4, 1/800 (took this before I learned to switch to the shade setting)

4. Beware of changing light.

When the sun is setting, the lighting changes fast! I like to get my camera settings perfect. Then, as the sun goes down, I keep slowing down the shutter speed to allow more light in. It’s the quickest way to adjust for the sunset. Check the lighting every couple minutes, maybe even every minute. Seriously, it changes faster than you think!

Manual tricks for better beach sunset portraits with your dslr

ISO 400,  f2.8, 1/125

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