Which do you prefer, sunrise or sunset? I know, it’s tough to choose.  I think I’d have to say sunrise–there’s something about being up with the sun that makes me feel energized and grateful and like I can do anything. But from a purely photography standpoint, I’d have to say it’s hard to beat the light in the hour before sunset.

Having just recently moved back to Florida, I’d forgotten how much I’d missed the breathtaking beauty of a sunrise or a sunset on the beach! There’s something magical about it every. single. time.

We spent last week in St. Pete beach (see more of that adventure on my instagram @saratallent). It was a great “staycation” and I loved soaked up all the beautiful beach skies. I didn’t even bring a tripod, which is probably some sort of photographer crime, but I’ve got two toddlers so the main priority was relaxing and making the most of the end of summer with them. A couple of these bad boys are blurrier than I would like, but honestly, the colors are so stunning I love them all anyway.


beach chairs sara tallent photography_St.Pete


blurry palm at sunset_sara tallent photography

Here’s why you need a tripod, people! But those colors!

Sunset // Sara Tallent Photography

That last one may be my favorite sunset ever!

If you’re interested in capturing your own amazing sky shots I’d recommend a couple of things:


1. Use the widest angle lens you can get your hands on. The sky is big! You want to get lots of it. As I mentioned earlier, the purpose of this trip was not photography, so I only took bare bones photography equipment. I used a 50mm lens. But let me just tell you, if you can get your hands on a wide angle or  fisheye lens (I’m obsessed with this one) you will be able to produce those huge, sweeping skies.

2.  Bring a Tripod. If you really want a great night sky, especially at sunset a tripod is key because will let you get longer exposures in the lessening light. If you’re a rebel or just have two toddlers like me and really can’t handle lugging one more thing around, use a table, chair back, railing, something steady to allow you to use a slower shutter without any motion blur.

3. Bump your ISO. Always shoot at the lowest ISO possible if you’re trying to avoid grain in your photos (some people like that look and bump the ISO on purpose). As night falls, or in the early morning hours before the sun is up, bumping the ISO can help you get a better exposure. Especially if you’re like me and haven’t brought your tripod!

4. Let you camera warm up. Crucial. A couple of my shots are hazy bc i just grabbed my camera and headed out, forgetting how hot and humid it is here in FL! The temp change going from our air conditioned hotel room to the beach was quite dramatic, and the lens fogged up on me!  The sky changes SO fast at sunrise and sunset and if you’re not ready you’ll miss it. If you’re in a super hot and humid climate, put your camera outside 5 mins or so before you’re ready to shoot (we were in a hotel, so I started setting mine on our balcony. The other option is just to get outside and set up earlier), otherwise the temperature change and humidity can cause your lens to fog up.

Let me know your faves in the comments below!