I have recently joined a group on Facebook dedicated to the use of a particular camera.
I follow a few other photography groups on Facebook and the contrast between those and this new one is very clear. All of the other groups are focused on genres, or technique. This new one is about taking photos with a particular camera, and it attracts a completely different crowd.
I would describe them as “camera users” versus “photographers”. They are people honestly want to take better photos, but they mistakenly thought a better camera is what would get them there.
To be blunt, most of what gets posted there is pretty bad.
Sometimes it’s bad because the picture taker didn’t know how to use their camera, so it’s poorly focused, or the aperture was inappropriate for the shot.
More often though it because it’s clear they just don’t know how to see. They are making a common mistake of thinking that because something was striking to their own eyes, that it will be striking in a photo.
The reality is that our brains are automatically filtering everything we see. So when we see a beautiful sunset, we can easy not see all the ugly distractions around it.
But the same thing doesn’t happen when we view a photograph. That’s why we need to think about the composition before we take the photo.
Above are a couple of examples of bad sunset photos. The first one is actually technically okay, it’s just boring. The second one is pretty much terrible all over and suffers from a whole variety of issues that are beyond the scope of this article.
And below we have some examples of better sunset photos. They could be more accurately described as “photos taken at sunset”. More on that in a moment. I leave it up to you to decide if you think they are good or not, but they are definitely better.
So what makes a better sunset photo? Here are a few key tips that come to mind in no particular order: