If you visit Hawaii, I guarantee you’ll see at least one sunset that will simply take your breath away. Actually, you may see many of them and you’ll likely get a blister on your index finger as you continually push the button on your camera!
Unfortunately, what often looks good on your camera’s 2″ screen doesn’t always translate into the perfect Hawaii sunset picture you had hoped for–so here are a couple of tips for capturing that “WOW” moment.
Hawaii Sunset Picture Tip #1
If you want your sunset photograph to look like everyone else’s, you’ll likely do what I’ve done countless times in Hawaii. Take a photo of the sunset with the horizon centered horizontally and the sun sitting squarely in the middle of the picture. Hey, it’s a photo of a Hawaii sunset, so it will still look great, but it will also look kind of boring–yes, Hawaii sunsets can look boring.
Instead, compose your sunset picture with the sun either slightly to the left or right of center, and place the horizon so that it’s not squarely in the middle of the viewfinder. You’ll end up with a Hawaii sunset picture that draws people in and impresses the socks off your friends and family.
Hawaii Sunset Picture Tip #2
If you point your camera directly at the setting sun, and press the shutter button, you may well end up with a picture that, while pretty, doesn’t really capture the beautiful colors you saw with your naked eye. This is because the sun is very, very bright–obviously–so your camera’s built-in computer tries to compensate for this brightness, which often leads to the rest of the sky looking somewhat “blah” while the sun looks blurry.
A neat trick is to point your camera just above the setting sun. Press your shutter button half way down–like you do when you’re looking to get your camera to focus on someone–then, with you finger still half-way pushed down on the shutter button, move the camera back down so you can see the sun in your viewfinder. Once, you’ve done that–remember to keep your finger half-way pressed all this time–finally push down fully on the shutter button. I won’t bore your with the techno-photography-babble of why this makes great photos, but basically it allows the camera to capture the colors of the sky and the setting sun.
Just how much better will your Hawaii sunset pics be? Let me show you.
Here’s a sunset photo I took back in 2003:
Not bad. But as you can see, the sun was so bright, my poor camera couldn’t capture the surrounding colors and the sun looks blurred. Also, the horizon is centered–although I did place the sun slightly to the left.
OK, now here’s a picture from earlier this month–using both the tips I mention above:
Hopefully, you can tell the difference. By moving the horizon-line lower in the picture, and placing the sun to the right, I’ve made the photo look different than most Hawaii sunset pictures. Also, look at that sky! By using tip #2 above, I was able to capture the colors and the clouds much better than in the first photograph.
I hope these tips help you to take some stunning sunset photos on your next trip to Hawaii. If you have a tip for taking pictures of sunsets please share them in the comments below. I’ll be back soon with another Hawaii photography tip.