Landscape and nature photographers are often up before sunrise, scouting locations and positioning their tripods so they can capture the first few hours of early morning light. If they’re not early risers, then they often shoot at the other time of day when lighting is magnificent – late afternoon and evening. They understand the secret to capturing beautiful images is using natural sunlight at its warmest tones.
Sunlight in the middle of the day often produces harsh shadows and cooler tones in photographs. Sometimes this is wanted. However, the warmer and more subtle variances of lighting occur at the beginning and end of the day. Colors are saturated and images are very appealing in the warm glow of the sun’s rays. This is also true if you’re taking portraits of people – skin tones are warmer, skin coloring is more attractive, and most people are not squinting in harsh rays.
Another trick of professional photographers is using a flash during daylight when taking portraits or close ups of flowers. The flash fills in the lighting in the shadow areas and gives the photo a pleasant look.
Is it a cloudy day? Then it’s often perfect for flowers shots and landscapes, since the clouds act like a natural reflector and colors are intense. Don’t be afraid of a rainstorm, either, as long as your camera and lens are protected by an umbrella, raincoat, or covering. The drops of rain dripping off a leaf will produce a stirring photograph.
During the editing process and when selecting their best photographs to display, photographers will always go for the ones with unique or extraordinary lighting. These are the photos that stand out, tell a story, or evoke an emotion.