For me, taking pictures of a sunset has always been challenging. The advice from professional photographers is to be patient and to make sure you do not leave the scene when the sun goes down below the horizon. At that point most people go home, but the best colors come in the few minutes afterwards.
A couple of years ago, we went to Brigantine, NJ to catch the sunset. I walked on the beach, watching the sun go down and took a dozen pictures, most like this one below.
They were okay but not great. I had expected better and more vibrant colors. Disappointed, I packed up, got back to the car where my wife was waiting and we decided to go home. I had to drive to the end of the island, just about 100 ft away, to turn around. By the time I began the turn a red glow coming from the rear window filled the inside of the car. The sky was ablaze in crimson and purple. I rushed to a spot on the back bay of Brigantine and spent the next 15 minutes clicking away for the most beautiful sunset that we had seen in a long time.
Some people who have seen the photo above could not believe the colors and thought I had photoshopped them in. But they are the real colors of that day.
So the next time you take photos of a sunset, don’t leave too soon. Linger around even after the sun can no longer be seen. The best may yet to come after that.