The Best Lighting for Outdoor Photography

The Best Lighting for Outdoor Photography

Whether you’re a professional photographer or a casual hobbyist, it is common knowledge that photography isn’t always easy. There are many factors that go in taking the right photo, but lighting is one of the most important. Finding the appropriate light for outdoor photography can be tricky. Not enough light – or too much light can compromise the image. However, don’t be discouraged if you can’t get the lighting right in your photos. To help you out, the team at The Perfect Light has some tips on finding the best lighting for outdoor photography!


During the Day

1. Make Use of Golden Hour

If you spend hours pondering over your Instagram (like all of us, no shame) you probably know what golden hour is, or you at least have a rough idea. Golden hour is the first hour of light after sunrise and the last hour of light before sunset. Photos that have been captured during this time of day usually have a warm, glowing sort of appearance. Golden hour allows photographers to utilize natural lighting without really needing other lighting gear. It is not only great for portrait photography but also ideal for capturing landscapes and city skylines.


To capture photos right when golden hour begins, you can use this golden hour calculator. This website will tell you when golden hour begins based on your location – so be ready with your camera at least 10 minutes before golden hour starts!

2. Avoid Shooting Directly in The Sun

It’s never a good idea to take photos directly in the sun as it usually leads to a photo that is harshly lit or has too many shadows. When taking photos with the sun blaring down, try to find some shade where sunlight isn’t directly hitting the subject. By taking photos in the shade, your subject will be lit by diffused lighting, which is lighting that is much softer. In addition, to avoid lens flare, which often occurs when shooting in bright light, you can use a lens hood. If you don’t have one, you can use a card or even your hand.

3. Use a Reflector

If you’ve ever seen a photoshoot taking place and you’ve noticed someone holding a large white panel in front of the subject, you saw someone using a reflector. A reflector can add lighting to remove shadows or create deeper shadows. A reflector allows you to experiment with sunlight and use natural lighting creatively, which adds more dimension to your photos.


In the Evening

1. Make Use of Street Lights and Lit Up Signs

Shooting at night can be a little daunting. There isn’t a lot of light and using flash doesn’t always lead to a great photo. However, shooting at night also allows you to be a little more creative with finding the right lighting for your photos. For example, if you’re capturing photos in the city, try to use light emitted from lit up signs, streetlights and from buildings. Use these lights to provide background lighting for portraits and create silhouettes and shadows. Here are some tips when you’re taking photos with your DSLR camera:

  • Use a tripod if you can. When there is less light, your camera has a slower shutter speed and is more prone to capturing vibrations and blurs. By keeping your camera on a stable surface, you can prevent shaky photos.
  • Experiment with your camera’s ISO which measures the sensitivity of the image sensor. Generally, when shooting in darker locations, it’s better to have your ISO at a slightly higher setting.
  • Don’t be scared to capture blurs. They might end up looking cool when you’re capturing nightlife and add an animated feel to your photos.

2. Go to Places with String Lights

Outdoor restaurants and cafes with string lights can make for great photography locations. String lights are not only great for some quick event lighting, but they make for excellent background lighting. They provide the soft, diffused lighting that would look beautiful in portraits. You can even use battery operated fairy lights as a prop to carry around to add an artsy feel to your photos.


Now that you know a little more about the best lighting for outdoor photography, go out and experiment! We at the Perfect Light understand the importance of having the right lighting, which is why we provide outdoor lighting services for events, landscapes, and the Christmas season. Get in touch by calling 972-616-4104 or fill out a service request form on our website!



Leave a Comment

We would be glad to get your feedback. Take a moment to comment and tell us what you think.

Latest Landscape Lighting and Christmas Lighting Customers