I don't like photographing sunsets.

There. I said it.

But, (and this is important) I love what sunsets do. They provide some of the most dramatic light of the day, and you only get a short opportunity to get your photographs. We don't get great sunsets every night, so when they do happen, you should take advantage of the light, and what it's doing.

And that's the thing - - "what the light is doing" - - is the most important thing to pay attention to. It's easy to photograph the sun by itself, by just pointing your lens toward the bright light. But what's the challenge in that? To me, that's not a lot different than taking a photo of a lightbulb in your house.

Instead, take a look around, and witness what the sun is doing around you, and behind you. It casts some strong shadows, deepens colours, and creates some wonderful silhouettes. And that's where the great pictures are. It's those shadows, deep colours, and strong silhouettes that capture the wonderful light that a sunset provides.

Silhouettes, especially, are a great way to use the sunset's light. Not only does it provide a sense of scale to the image, it also gives the viewer something to focus on, rather than just a block of orange colour. Silhouettes also make great images that can be used as stock photos, since they usually don't include anyone that can be identified, which would usually require a model release.

So don't let me stop you, if you love photographing sunsets. You're not alone there, because most people do. But I encourage you to pause for a moment, and look around, even turn around. Look at what the sunset is doing around you, and appreciate the colours and shadow depths.

And if you feel you just have to point your camera in the direction of the sun, at least put something between you and it, so you have something worthwhile to show for it, when the sun has finally set.