- Best Camera Settings for Landscape Photography
- Working With Good Landscape Photography Lighting and Its Effects on Your Photos
- 9 Landscape Photography Rules and When to Break Them
- How to Make Your Landscape Photography Better in 3 Simple Steps
Though golden hour photography gets all the love from landscape photographers for having the best light of the day, it's not always possible for us to shoot at sunrise and sunset.
Besides, there are other types of light that give you great landscape photos. It just depends on what you're photographing, what you want to highlight in the shot, and the story you're trying to tell.
In the video above from CreativeLive, National Geographic photographer Franz Lanting discusses different kinds of light and how they impact they impact your photos.
His expert landscape photography tips will open up new avenues for you to create gorgeous images.
For more details on each tip, explore how to photograph landscapes below.
How to Photograph Landscapes in Indirect Light
Indirect lighting - like what you get on cloudy or foggy days - might not be the favorite type of landscape photography lighting, but as Franz points out in the video, it can be quite beautiful.
The way that clouds and fog disperse the light means that it falls very gently and evenly on the landscape below.
Without harsh highlights or shadows, this is not only advantageous from a dynamic range point of view (in that your camera won't struggle to accommodate a huge level of contrast), but it also helps you create images that are very calming and serene.
In the absence of high contrast light, it's often a good idea to incorporate elements into the shot to give the image a little visual punch.
In the example above, the leading lines created by the roadway serve that purpose well, adding some color with the yellow lines and helping to connect the foreground to the background.
Not every cloudy or foggy scene requires something like this, though, so include other elements only as needed for a more interesting shot.
How to Photograph Landscapes in Magic Light
Magic light, as Franz describes, occurs just before sunrise and just after sunset.
This kind of indirect light is often beautifully saturated with pink, blue, purple, and other tones that create a gorgeous sky.
Even better, that magic light is reflected back onto the scene, giving the landscape similar pink, blue, and purple overtones.
As seen above, the pink hues of the magic light reflect onto the buttes in the landscape, giving it a life and vitality that's quite gorgeous.
How to Photograph Landscapes in Direct Light
When it comes to landscape photography lighting, direct light is usually not a photographer's favorite.
However, if you manage the light, you can still create breathtaking landscape photos.
Primarily, you need to consider where the sun is entering the scene relative to your shooting position.
There are three types of direct lighting of which to be aware:
In frontlighting, the sun is behind you and illuminates the subject matter from the front.
This is an ideal situation in which you want to show off the colors of the landscape, like the wildflowers in the photo above.
In sidelighting, the sun enters the scene from the left or right at varying angles.
This is a prime kind of light to use to highlight textures, as shown above.
Sidelighting also gives you the opportunity to create photos with a lot of depth, as the long shadows cast by the sidelighting creates dimension and drama.
In backlighting, you look towards the sun.
Naturally, doing so casts your subjects in shadow, giving you a prime opportunity for silhouette landscape photography.
As Franz notes, look for backlighting as the sun rises. Then, in the golden hour period, turn around and find subject matter that's illuminated by the sun. Finally, when you're shooting in the morning or afternoon, sidelighting is often the best option.
In the end, adapting how you shoot your shoot your landscape photos to the kind of light that's available will get you better results.