Everyone loves a sunset – particularly photographers. But choosing the best camera settings for sunsets can be a challenge, as you want to capture the sun’s colours as they appear to you, not how your camera thinks they should be.

To this end you need to take control of your exposure and adjust your settings to suit the conditions because in extreme lighting your camera might not interpret the scene in the way you expect.

Exposing for the sky will give you the most striking colours, but the consequence of this is that your foreground will become very dark. To combat this, mount an ND grad filter to balance the exposure.

Below we’ve suggested some of the best camera settings for sunsets; however, we should point out that these are simply a starting point. Dial these settings in and you’ll get a solid exposure, but undoubtedly you’ll want to let your creativity take over!

Best camera settings for sunsets

Exposure mode

Focus mode

Shutter speed
1/30sec or longer


100 or lower


Drive mode

White balance

Exposure blending

If you don’t have an ND grad filter, try shooting your scene twice. In your first shot, expose for the sky; in your second, expose for the land.

Back home, combine them in your image-editing software using an exposure blend technique and you’ll get an image with more dynamic range that looks like what you saw in the moment.