Back to Blog

3 Photo Tips for Better Lighthouse Images

blog & photo by

View the Lighthouse Photo Gallery

While it's great to have the time to plan out a long list of photographs we want to take throughout a day of shooting. The reality is we are either with family members, or on a tight schedule and must be able to make the best of the weather conditions, and time of day we are faced with when getting the opportunity to visit.

1. Afternoon Sun is Fine

One of the few things you can photograph with decent results in the middle of the day with a harsh sun beating down is a coastal beach area, especially one with a lighthouse. If you can walk up to the the lighthouse, then you can get some great shots regardless of time of day.

2. Find different views and angles

Start with your typical snapshot of the lighthouse that anyone with a camera or phone can take, then start getting creative. I'd suggest starting with a wide-angle lens (maybe no reason to go to anything longer) and get up close to the structure. You can shoot straight up and take advantage of the size of the lighthouse, or focus on any doors/shutters/windows that may offer some unique character to the building.

Don't forget to step back and survey the entire area and sightlines to and from the lighthouse. You'll likely find other vantage points that completely change the mood and look of the structure. It may require walking up the beach in one direction or the other (or both) to an area offering a view of the lighthouse that you can use. When you get home and load your photos, you want as many different viewpoints as possible to tell the story of your visit, not just a single straight on snapshot that any tourist can get.

3. Use other objects

Like so many other areas of landscape photography, finding another object in the foreground or background, or both, can turn an average snapshot into a beautiful gallery image. When your subject is near water, you immediately have that to work with. And if you're lucky enough, you can find both a foreground and a background, as I did in this photo in St Joseph, Michigan with a glowing setting sun in the background, and the incredible timing of a fisherman heading for home (or a cold one) after an evening of boating.

* * *