How To Plan An Outdoor Shoot With The Perfect Light

the photographer's ephemeris

The Photographer’s Ephemeris is a totally free desktop application (PC & MAC) that can help you plan an outdoor photoshoot to perfection. Well, I say perfection, but that may be a little bit of an exaggeration, as lots of things can happen on a shoot that are outside of this little programme’s control! But, that little point aside, The Photographer’s Ephemeris really can help you out because it will show you the angle of light for anywhere in the world, at any given time.


Say, for instance, that you intend on taking a few shots of sunrise at your local beach. What would be the best time to take the shot? From which angle will the sun be rising from? This free piece of software will show you in a few second – simply enter the address of your photoshoot location, and you’ll instantly see sunrise/sunset times, as well as angles of light for that specific location. Just see the example screenshot at the top of this post as an example.

This handy video shows you how to use the software in more depth:

Although it is landscape photographers that instantly spring to mind as being able to get the best out of this software, it could also be handy for anyone shooting outside. Are you a wedding photographer? Use this to find out where the sun will be coming from at the forthcoming wedding venue, so you can plan where to take group shots without the sun blinding everyone. Into taking shots of wildlife? You’ll be able to use this to plan a silhouetted elephant shot with ease…!

You can download The Photographer’s Ephemeris for free here (download link is at the top-right), or you can get a mobile version on your iPhone/iPad on iTunes (though you have to pay for the mobile version).

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