There’s a reason photographers – both professional and amateur – head to Rockaway Beach on a regular basis. We have some of the most breathtaking sunsets around. Part of what makes our sunsets so desirable are the iconic Twin Rocks, which add an artistic element to any photo.

If you’d like to improve your sunset photography skills and blow your Instagram followers away, here are some tips and tricks for capturing the perfect photo.

Scout out different locations. The sunset won’t look the exact same from place to place, so spend some time in the afternoon picking what spot you think will yield the best results. Maybe you want a close proximity to Twin Rocks, or wish to head way up on the hill so you can also capture the colorful beach cottages in your photo. And of course, sunset photos don’t actually have to show the sun. When the skies are particularly bold and dramatic, a photo from the Cedar Wetlands Preserve from underneath the trees can be magical.

Watch your time. The most picture-worthy moments usually happen before and after the sun actually sets, so try to get there at least half an hour before sunset, and don’t leave until the sky is nearly completely dark. Some of the most picture-worthy moments can happen up to ten minutes after the sun has dipped below the horizon.

Keep an eye on the weather. This time, we don’t mean “dress appropriately”  although that will help you stay comfortable. Different types of weather produce different types of light patterns in the sky. Clear skies over the ocean, while lovely and simple, don’t always mean the best colors. A little bit of cloud can be a game changer, and dust or smoke in the air can also impact the color schemes.

Remember the Rule of Thirds. For a really interesting photo, place your focal point – such as the horizon, sun, Twin Rocks or other silhouette – off center.


Experiment with Exposure. There’s no right way to capture the sunset, so feel free to experiment with your camera’s exposure for different results. You probably won’t like all of them, but some might surprise you. Sunsets are always changing so the key is to just keep shooting, experimenting, and shooting some more. You can take a look at what worked and what didn’t later.

Look behind you. The skyline isn’t the only thing impacted by a beautiful sunset. Sometimes the prettiest pictures aren’t of the horizon, but of the way other things around you are transformed in the changing light.

Keep Shooting. Just because the sun has set doesn’t mean the show is over. Some sunsets save the most magical moments for last, when photographers have packed up their cameras (or phones) and aren’t paying attention anymore. Don’t let the best moment pass you by; you came to capture the perfect sunset picture so don’t stop trying until it’s officially over.

Be sure to tag us in your photos @visitrockawaybeach!  

Photos by Bruce Higgins and Steve Weissenfluh. 

Follow Rockaway Beach & Tillamook Coast Photography for more great photos.

(503) 355-2291

Rockaway Beach Oregon

Visitors Center at the Wayside
Look for the Red Caboose!

103 1st Ave
Rockaway Beach, OR 97136

Visit Rockaway Beach Office At City Hall

276 US-101, Rockaway Beach, OR 97136

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