Not Your Usual Hawaii Sunset Photo Tip

As visitors to Hawaii, we tend to be so enamored with watching the sun sinking into the ocean that we don’t notice what else is happening. Instead of facing the sun throughout sunset, and practically blinding yourself in the process, turn around to see what the sun is lighting. Oh the vibrant, golden glow you will find!

Sunset is one of the best times to capture west-facing photos of landscapes. In an interview with my talented photographer friend, Natalie Norton, she explains that the natural light is softer at sunset.  Natalie says, “The sun also has warmer tones at those times as well. Nothing will help your images say “paradise” like a natural filter of warm yellows and soft pinks.”

Let’s take a look at some examples of some photos we’ve shot at sunset. First, here’s a photo of Kapalua Beach that I took with my iPhone from Merriman’s Kapalua. While everyone else was focused on the sun, I looked around to see the golden glow of the beach.


On a visit to Oahu, Andy and I had a nice little Waikiki Beach picnic at sunset. We glanced back from the sun to see Diamond Head and Waikiki Beach lit up with a warm radiance as shown in the next photo.

Waikiki Beach at Sunset

Sunset is not only a good time to capture the illuminated west-facing landscape shot, it’s also a super opportunity to shoot a flattering photo of your travel companions. Natalie explains that, “[The sun is] coming down at an angle so you won’t get the dark shadows under your eyes and nose typical of shooting mid-day.” No unflattering shadows? Um, yes please! After capturing that shot with the sun in the background, you and your travel pals should turn to get that flattering shot with a sun-kissed glow.

For  more Hawaii vacation photography tips, see:

  1. I love the Diamond Head photo. And thank you so much for the tip of looking behind you at sunset, not just at the ocean/sun sinking in to the sea. To be very honest….I had never thought of that. My next trip to the Islands in a couple of months will have me shooting some very different sunset photos!

  2. Great idea L will be ther in 8 days so I will be trying that. I will have 2 weeks to get some great pics.

  3. nice shots, sheila! love the diamond head photo. you captured the subtle contrast of the blue sea and the sand and the mountain’s green and brown against the sky.

    i truly miss hawaii. we’re planning our return trip in may next year. we’ll do the sunset picnic as well!


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