How to Get Fantastic Colors

When it comes to photography, I’ve had people ask me, “How do you get those great colors in your images?” This is something any photographer can get, especially when you are asking about my sunrise/sunset photos, but it’s not easy to get unless you go after it.

There are two times a day when you have the best chance for awesome colors, sunrise and sunset, which is why these times are called the “magic hour” or the “golden hour”. Most people work in offices, drive back and forth to work and then live in their homes. If you are not outside, you are not going to catch these “magic hour” periods and get those fantastic colors. This first image is sunset in Laurens County, Ga.



Photograph is a career/hobby where you have to be outdoors if you want the best colors and you have to be ready all the time. Scout a good location and make sure you are there early you might even want to bring your tripod but it’s not necessary unless you want to do long exposures. This second image is a beautiful sunset over an abandoned Pawn Shop.


If you use an iPhone, like I do, there is actually a Magic Hour app in the App Store that will let you know exactly when “magic hour” will occur each day so you can be out there and ready. I also just found out as I wrote this article that they make a companion version of the app for my Apple Watch as well, which is nice as I tend to keep my notifications on my phone silenced as I get so many. On the Apple Watch, I can have it vibrate my wrist and let me know. This third sunset was shot in Statesboro, Ga.


Now, one other thing to keep in mind is the “magic” colors don’t happen every day, so don’t be discouraged. Nature works on it’s own schedule and even if you go out this evening and there are no awesome colors in the sky, keep going out there, they will come. One of the biggest things you need to learn as a photographer is patience. If you don’t have patience, then you are not going to do well in my areas of photography, especially shooting people, nature or sunrise/sunset. All of these parts of photography require patience as I am sure most pro photographers will agree. I wanted to include at least one sunrise. I shot  this one on Tybee Island, Ga and got up at 4am to be on the beach in time. This shot has sold dozens of copies on Getty Images via and become a Best Seller!

Tybee Island

Now get out there and find that fantastic color!!!