3 Of The World's Best Lighting Settings For Photography

For any landscape photographer, whether professional or amateur, there are three key things to consider: the camera (lens type, zoom settings etc.), the lighting and the landscape itself. With a vast range of lenses available offering different perspectives, the opportunities for unique, creative photography are endless. These three sites offer vastly different lighting opportunities, from the red sunset of the Grand Canyon to the crisp Autumn sunlight of New England fall, to the soft morning mist of India.

USA- Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is one of the world’s most popular natural landscapes attracting thousands of visitors every year. With the rippled red rock set against the deep blue sky, it’s no wonder it’s a favourite with landscape photographers.

Time to go

Whilst sunset can create a stunning backdrop for the canyon, it’s worth remembering that this is a deep canyon carved into the rock, meaning there will be very little illumination after nightfall. However, if you’d rather shoot at sunset than during the day, it’s a great idea to use ND (neutral-density) filters on your camera to minimise highlight exposure in the sky to create added exposure in the darker areas of the canyon in shadow.

Camera setting

As the canyon is such a vast landscape, it’s worth considering a wide-angle zoom to capture more in each shot. A wide angle lens has a short focal length to offer a wider angle of view which allows you to capture both foreground and background elements. With a setting like the Grand Canyon, it’s a good idea to include some foreground elements to put the size of canyon into perspective- the crowd of tourists may not be such a hindrance after all…

New England- USA

New England is one of those rare natural settings in which the vast array of colours appear almost unreal. Naturally, the best time to visit New England is in the fall. The tall trees with red, orange, yellow leaves set next to glistening lakes are a sight not to miss.

When to go

Sunrise and sunset are ideal times to capture the best lighting. Though sunset can cast impressive shadows on the ground, the shade of the trees can make it difficult to gain enough exposure. Instead, early morning offers the crisp, bright lighting associated with a New England Autumn.

Taj Mahal- Agra, India

The Taj Mahal is one of the world’s most iconic sites and is a veritable feast of opportunity for landscape photographers. The building is a mausoleum built in honour of the Moghal Emperor’s third wife. Given the imposing symmetry of the structure and the flat surrounding landscape, it is a perfect structure to capture on camera.Taj Mahal, India

Time to go

Sunset or sunrise are prime opportunities for beautiful shots. If you head to the site early, you’ll find fewer tourists and possibly a light morning mist casting the building in silhouette. Alternatively, sunset offers beautiful lighting opportunities as the building is reflected in the waters of the landscaped gardens.

Camera setting

Unlike the vast landscape of the Grand Canyon which needs to be seen as a whole, the detailed architecture of the Taj Mahal deserves attention. With a telephoto lens, it’s possible to be more selective in what you include in the image. This is a fantastic tool for highlighting the curves, textures and intricate detailing of the building. However, it does depend on your own perspective and position in relation to the building. If you stand a great distance from the Taj Mahal, you may want to show the building isolated in its full setting, in which case, a wide angle lens would be preferable.

Understanding how lens optics can affect your photography is the first step to creating beautiful landscape photographs. Different lens functions are designed to optimise your image quality, making it easy to capture perfect images, whether you’re a photography pro or an amateur snapper.

Featured images:
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://office.microsoft.com/en-gb/images/results.aspx?qu=taj+mahal&ex=1#ai:MP900179395|

Victoria works in the optics industry and understands how lenses are manufactured for perfect results. She writes for glasses online company, Directsight.