How to Photograph Landscapes in Harsh Light

Lighting is undoubtedly a crucial element of any type of photography. With landscape photography, however, it becomes even more difficult, as you have zero control over the environmental factors that affect it. Even though many photography enthusiasts consider golden hours to be ideal for landscape photography, the conditions can vary day by day. Not all golden hours are great. In such situations, you may need to adapt and work with whatever light you have. Making the light work for you is key. In today’s video, photographer Adam Gibbs shares some top tips on what you can do when you’re forced to work with harsh lighting:

When we shoot landscapes in harsh sunlight, the images come out quite flat. Even the colors do not pop out much. There’s an overall loss of contrast. All this means is that the effort that you put in getting the shot does not come through. To overcome this, Gibbs shares a very simple tip: look for shade.

While there might not be areas with shade to completely cover the landscape, look for small sections within the landscape where the sunlight does not fall directly. You can then compose your shots with just that section in the frame and shoot a detailed shot. As Gibbs shares in the video, even such photographs can turn out pretty spectacular.

Another idea is to look for the side of landscapes that are facing away from the sun. This can vary based on what time of day you’re out shooting, but the idea is to go to the area in the shade and photograph that instead. Gibbs uses this exact concept and captures scenes of waterfalls. And as you can see, even these photographs are gorgeous.

The bottom line: don’t just limit your working window to the golden hours. Make an active effort to understand light and make it work for you. This way you can also come out with images that do not all look the same.

How do you photograph landscapes during harsh lighting conditions? Let us know in the comments.

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