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Newport Beach Blog

Photo Tips from a Local Pro

October 25, 2013

Newport Beach is a breathtakingly beautiful city.

Who can resist trying to capture a photo or two while enjoying beautiful Orange County sunsets?

Often we feel disappointed when we realize the photo we took bares no resemblance to the beauty our eyes saw.

Even with today’s amazing cameras, the human eye is still better than any existing camera sensor.

Here are five easy tips to improve your sunset photos:

1. Keep the horizon line straight when you take photos. This becomes second nature to professional photographers, and it’s an easy way to improve your photos. Slanted horizon lines look sloppy and give the impression the earth is tilting in an unrealitstic way. Straight horizons are an easy, quick, step to improving your photos.

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2. For most sunset photos, you will want to put the horizon line along the bottom third of your photo. When you do so, the sky becomes the true subject of your photo. You should avoid putting the horizon line dead center in your photographs.

3. Instead of pointing your camera right at the sun, try pointing it off to the side a bit. That allows your camera to better “meter” the true light in the scene. (Thereby, eliminating those photos where the sand turns out so dark it looks black while the sky is blown out.)

4. Your photo will turn out more interesting if there’s something in the foreground. A rock, seaweed, or perhaps a surfer adds “that little something” to your photograph. (This is also a great way to create interesting silhouette images.)

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5. Clouds make for a more interesting photo than clear skies. The best sunsets I’ve captured have been on days with clouds. The most magical light happens after the sun has dropped. The clouds light up in many beautiful and interesting patterns.

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I hope these five beginner tips help you capture beautiful memories of Newport Beach.

Written by Suzanne Haggerty

Suzanne Haggerty is a professional photographer and a fifth generation Southern Californian. She has a large international following. Her prints can be found in homes and businesses around the world. You can find her work at SuzanneHaggerty.org

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