Coastal Sunset Photography

Before getting his camera out at a potential landscape location, Karl spends some time identifying the best possible areas to photograph.

In this photography class Karl explains exactly what he looks for in a location and the elements that make a strong composition. Youโ€™ll learn how interesting perspective and good framing are essential components for a good shot before Karl explains why itโ€™s important to experiment with different camera settings to get the best image.

Working against a rising tide, he also explains which filters he uses and why it can be worth waiting a while after the sun has set.

This class also includes some bonus outtakes of the teamโ€™s incredible dolphin sighting.

In this photography class we cover the following:

  • Landscape photography: How to photograph a coastal sunset
  • Landscape photography tips
  • How to identify a good location for landscape photography
  • Camera settings for landscape photography
  • Using filters for landscape photography
  • Experimenting with different shutter speeds for different effects

You can watch the post production for this image in the next class.

If you have any questions about this class please post in the comments section below.

NOTE: This photography class is available with English subtitles.


  1. Hello Karl,
    First of all i love how informative and detailed your classes are, they’re straight to the point and they share the right amount of info.
    i still have a question, in case i don’t have ND filters, yet i wanna take some shots at low speeds for tide sweeps, is there any substitute i can use until i get my filters?
    thank you!

    1. Hi Kevin, thank you for your comments. Unfortunately the laws of physics apply here and if there is too much light and no other camera settings to reduce it then we have to revert to ND filters. On your camera you can lower your ISO to the lowest possible setting (usually 50iso) and you can set your aperture to the smallest setting but if there is still too much light to achieve a 2 to 4 second exposure then it has to be filters over the lens. These can be sunglesses, welders goggles or anything that reduces the light but good ND filters are your best option. Cheers Karl.

  2. Fantastic images, thanks for the Video.

    Just have 1 question, do you adjust your White Balance, or you use the Automatic White balance on the camera?



    1. Hi Darryl, I generally use manual white balance at 5800K or set it for daylight or flash (all our similar) but because I’m shooting in RAW I can tweak the colour balance with no detrimental effects in the RAW processing software.

  3. Very interesting, awesome sunset. Interesting way you got water on those rocks, if it had been me I probably would’ve ended up in that sea. You have some of the best photography training out there. It really isn’t all about equipment either.
    Thanks for sharing the knowledge.

  4. Dolphins spotted – Sport mode activated. My god did that thing fly off at speed!

    You make me laugh Karl, quite the entertainer…

  5. Karl, you talked about using an adapter on your 70-200 mm lens for more focal length. I have the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM Lens, which looks like what you are using, I didn’t know I could buy an adapter that increases the focal length. Can you share which adapter you are using and whether it would work on my lens?

  6. I totally can relate to the difficulties of such shots. And Thank you, Kral!! ๐Ÿ™‚ Really need to be careful and watch for the tides coming in… I once was trying to focus and almost got a bad wet luckily someone else behind me seeing a big one coming and yelled to leave. Unfortunately when come home for close examine, somehow I didn’t nail the focus! :'(

  7. Hi Karl,

    Great video and fantastic images at the end. I’m curious, what lens did you use? I currently have the Canon17-40mm f4 wide angle lens on my 6d but find it isn’t that sharp. I was thinking of getting a 24-70mm f2.8 instead. Would this be wide enough for this sort of shoot or would a 16-35mm be better? Thanks.

  8. Hi Karl, question for you: why you prefer very close aperture over an ap. of about F9/11 which usually gives a better overall sharpness? Isn’t lens best sharpness point around that range?
    thanks and congrats.

    1. Hi Luca, I need the depth of field to ensure the objects and distance are covered. Also with good lenses I’ve never had any issues shooting at f16 and even f22.

  9. I love it… I was laughing , things you doing for your members I love it my friend keep up the good work.. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Hi Karl,
    Thank you, this was great. I picked up on a lot that I thought I knew but did not.
    Have a great week.

  11. Hello
    Loved the coastal shots and with such long exposures to create the smooth milky look of the water.
    When you press the shutter button are you using the timer to release it to prevent any camera movement?

    1. Hi Charles, no I press the button carefully. Generally speaking if your exposure time is in the seconds then the brief moment of pushing the button will have little effect on the exposure. The biggest problem for me usually comes from the sea or waves moving my tripod during the exposure.

  12. Hi Karl and thanks for your reply. I asked this because I was surprised at some of the settings you used in the coastal videos. (F18, 20 etc).

    1. Hi Justin, understood but i’ve not had any problematic issues with diffraction on the Canon at those apertures although I’d say f20 is probably pushing it a bit.

  13. Hi Karl, nice video, thanks.

    I was just wondering if you had ever used any reverse grad filters before ? several manufacturers such as Nisi or Formatt Hitech make them now. I think I might invest because they seem to be perfect for sunsets when the Sun is low on the horizon. Also I find that diffraction creeps in at apertures like f16-18 on my 6D I try not to go smaller than f11. Is this something that you fix in post production? Cheers

    1. Hi Justin, you can’t fix diffraction in post production as it has affected the actual recorded pixels and reduced physical sharpness and contrast. Reverse grads can be a useful tool but I’ve only ever used normal grads

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