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Photographing New Mexico

written by: Misty Faucheux•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 4/6/2010

Heading to New Mexico? Then bring your camera! There are plenty of opportunities to take amazing photographs of New Mexico by following these techniques!

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    New Mexico - The Land of Enchantment

    Photographing New Mexico can be a gratifying and sometimes frustrating task. New Mexico has a very varied landscape from the mountains of Taos to the beautiful colored building of Santa Fe. So, when planning a photographic trip to the region, you need to come prepared.

    The landscapes of New Mexico tend to run from the sands of the desert to the rolling hills of the mountainous regions to gorgeous lakes. When attempting to capture these landscapes, a photographer needs to come prepared with an array of equipment.

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    New Mexico Landscape Photography

    First of all, you should invest in a camera in which you can switch out the lenses. Depending on the scenery, you may need to zoom in one of the cranes that grace the many lakes of New Mexico. Or, you may need to change to a wide-angle lens to catch a sunset over one of the mountains of Taos. In this instance, a digital SLR would work best with a telephoto and wide-angle lens.

    Taos Alley by Misty Faucheux Next, bring an array of filters. New Mexico tends to be very bright during the day so a polarizing or a graduated neutral density filter will help minimize the glare and over-exposure effect. The filters will allow you to take photographs of New Mexico during the day without causing shadows to appear too dark or lighter areas to appear too light. Plus, New Mexico is also known for amazing sunrises and sunsets, and filters will also help you effectively catch these events.

    Photographers who want to capture the true beauty of New Mexico should also freshen up their landscape photography techniques. Try framing far away rock formations with a nearby hanging branch. Play around with diagonal lines. There are many old paths within the state. Use these types of opportunities to create converging or diagonal lines to create a focal point. Viewers of your photographs should be easily able to pick out subject of your photograph.

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    Photographing Buildings in New Mexico

    Besides plenty of opportunities to take landscape photographs of New Mexico, the state also has many older towns with interesting buildings. For example, Santa Fe has many old churches and other historic sites.

    While people work in buildings every day, they often don’t think about how to photograph them. It’s quite different than taking pictures of a mountain. Supplies are one of the first things to consider when photographing New Mexico buildings. Bring a step stool and a Taos Store Front by Misty Faucheux tripod. If you take pictures from ground level, the building in your pictures will look like it’s leaning inward. But, if you stand on a stool and raise yourself up a bit, the building will then look straight.

    You should try taking pictures from mid-way up the building, or simply focus on an interesting architectural object on the building. Try shooting the building from different angles. If you don’t have a wide-angle lens, try backing up down the street.

    Speaking of churches within New Mexico, there are a number of historic missions around Santa Fe and Taos. To photograph the inside of these structures, bring a camera tripod if you do not have any type of optical stabilization. If not, your pictures will come out blurry due to the low-light.

    One final note on photographing buildings, if the building is too dark or very light, you will have to manipulate the exposure. Generally, the rule of thumb is to try opening or closing down one stop. And, take plenty of pictures. Sometimes, it takes 50 pictures just to get 1 that captures that New Mexico scenery just the way that you wanted it.