The Best Lighting for Landscape Photography
Lighting plays a large part in landscape photography. The lighting and shadows you will encounter in nature vary from hour to hour and season to season. A grassy field may look vastly different in the shadows of early morning than it does at noon's full sun, and different still under a gray, February sky.
While midday certainly provides ample lighting, many seasoned photographers consider dusk and dawn to be the "Golden Hours" when it comes to landscape photography. You may wish to visit a favorite scenic location at different times of the day to decide on the best natural lighting for the photo.
Along with the intensity of the sun, you will also want to consider its direction. While you have probably heard that, whether shooting landscape photography or any types of photos, the sun should be behind you. This is called "frontlighting," as the light - in this case, the sun - shines on the front of the subject you are photographing. Frontlighting can certainly illuminate your subject vividly, but may not be the best choice for landscape photography. In fact, it may result in a flattened appearance in your photos. Try shooting from other angles so that your landscape is lit from the side or behind. Read Use Directional Lighting to Create More Interesting Images for more detailed information.
Even though landscape photography consists solely of shooting pictures outdoors, you are not limited to relying on the sun for lighting. Your camera's fill-in flash feature will help you avoid unwanted shadows. You can certainly use your flash outdoors when it is simply too dark to capture the scenery you want to photograph, as well. Conversely, if the sun is shining too brightly and you are experiencing excessive glare or reflections, seek out or create some type of shade. For example, if there are no trees, awnings or other covers nearby, bring an umbrella under which you can stand while you photograph.