So what if you don’t have the latest camera gear or flash equipment to create the perfect sunset portrait?
You can still get beautiful sunset portraits with your iPhone. You just have to make a few compromises.
Find The Best Spot
If you aren’t getting good results, consider a different position.
Having the sunset itself right behind your subject is nice, but with an iPhone and no flash, you’ll just end up with a silhouette. If that is what you want, then awesome. Expose for the sunset and let the person or people in the frame go dark. In fact, even on paid shoots, I do at least one of these type of shots every time. They’re relatively easy and look cool.
But, if you want some photos that show their faces then you need to make some adjustments. Try shooting away from the sunset or at least off to the side of it. Having the setting sun out of frame will help to balance the exposure between the background and the subject. That means that they can both be exposed correctly.
Adjust Your Camera Settings
I highly recommend an app that gives you full control over the camera, like
But, even the built in iPhone camera can be controlled a little. While you are composing the shot, try tapping on different parts of the image to help it decide how to expose the shot. With some simple trial and error and a few taps, you’ll do way better than just pointing and clicking the shutter button.
Wait It Out
You can also wait it out. Let the sun get lower in the sky. As soon as the sun dips below the horizon, the sky will drop a few stops in exposure and potentially let you get a shot with the subject exposed correctly and the sky not blown out. Often, this is the most colorful moment in the sky anyway.
But don’t let it get too dark. The iPhone is not great in low light.
Find Some Light
You can also try and find a position with some helping light. It might be a street light or a nearby shop. Just position your subject somewhere that this ambient light can reach them. It will be a LOT more flattering than using the flash built into your phone and will help to balance the exposure between the subject and the background.