The Importance of Light in Landscape Photography

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The importance of light in landscape photography The importance of light in landscape photography

There are many factors that contribute to making a good image. Not least among them is lighting, in fact without light we have no image and without good light we have a bad image.


I made this point on a recent photography workshop as we stopped for a landscape photography scene in the Wicklow Mountains close to Dublin. We were greeted with mid-morning light on a day that was forecast to have cloud and rain, and it looked great. There was big a big-cloud sky, casting defining shadows across the green valleys and mountains spread out in front of us - a mixture of green, white and blue with plenty of contrast.

Wicklow landscape with cloud-filled sky
Wicklow landscape with cloud-filled sky 


I had visited the same location only a few days previous and on that occasion the early morning light was bright and even but left the wilderness scene looking very flat. Sure it was green and blue but in a two dimensional image there was no feeling of depth, nothing to hold the viewer's attention. No reason to make this scene into an image worthy of printing or showing to friends but wait some moments or move to a new location and you will find a scene worthy of your time and effort.

Wicklow landscape with flat lighting, colourful but not as interesting
Wicklow landscape with flat lighting, colourful but not as interesting


On the previous occasion it was worth moving to the next location quickly to photograph the landscapes in one of the valleys; facing a different direction clouds were in the sky and there was great lighting on the lake and hillsides. It should be easy to tell that the images with most impact from these workshops are the cloud-filled sky images. It is a photographer’s challenge to not only work with composition but with light. An image is created by light.

Panoramic Ireland create photography tours, workshops and experiences in Belfast, Wicklow and throughout Ireland.

To learn how to capture light more effectively contact me here.

Last modified on Thursday, 15 November 2018 18:05
Darren McLoughlin

Irishman and International travel photographer in search of the best bits of Ireland. Leading photography tours and experiences in Ireland.

Contributor to New York Times / Sunday Times / Irish Times / Echtra Echtra and Eonmusic

Cancer survivor.

Ask me about travel in Ireland or about photography in Ireland.

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