Yesterday I posted one solution to not getting real to life pictures, by use of HDR. Another option, that is much simpler to learn how to do, is just by playing with your White Balance settings. White Balance (WB) settings are ways the camera compensates for what it thinks is going on in the color spectrums… sometimes it gets it right (for example if your camera’s WB is set on Automatic, florescent lighting is made more blue instead of the actual green that it is in real life).
Sunsets are a classic example of having a brilliant scene that doesn’t translate to the same brilliance on film (or digital image). Often times this is due to your WB settings. Tweeking the WB is one of the easiest things a photographer can do is trick the camera into thinking the lighting conditions are different than they really are. Consider the two images below. The only difference between the two shots is the white balance settings.
The second image is actually more true to what the sunset looked like. I also decided to make this an HDR image, heres how that one turned out.