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Lighthouse Photography

Updated on January 27, 2016

Lighthouses are Fascinating

I really enjoy photographing lighthouses. Lighthouses are wonderful structures that bring you a sense of history, romance and mystery. I have visited over 100 lighthouses in the past 8 years and each one is different. Photographing these lighthouses is fun but it also has it's own challenges.

Some lighthouses are hard to get close enough for a good photo, while others may be surrounded with trees or in busy areas full of power lines and houses. Other lighthouses are right on the beach area or at the end of a pier and may be very accessible. When we are traveling we may try to photograph several lighthouses in a day so we have to watch our timing to capture the lighthouse in a good light. When time is an issue this is sometimes hard to do.

In this lens I will share images of some of my favorite photographs and tell you a bit about the lighting and angle of the photos. These photos have been made into Zazzle products and can be ordered in posters, prints and canvas prints in a variety of sizes. You can find the products by going to my zazzle store at

Finding the Perfect Shot

photographing lighthouses

I am always looking for just the right angle to take a photograph. I usually take a lot of shots before I find the angle that is just right.

I photographed this lighthouse at Hillsboro Inlet in Florida from a park just across the harbor, and was able to frame to photograph in palm branches.


I like to use trees to frame my lighthouses. i think it gives the photo an interesting perspective and zooms in to the features of the lighthouse without the details of the surroundings.

This photo is one I took of Marblehead lighthouse on the shores of Lake Erie in Ohio.

Marblehead Framed

Trees used for framing.
Trees used for framing. | Source

Sandy Hook up Close

Zoomed in shot of Sandy Hook
Zoomed in shot of Sandy Hook | Source

Sunrise at the Lighthouse

My favorite time to photograph lighthouses is in the very early morning just before and at the time of sunrise. This is not always possible unless we are staying nearby so I treasure the times I am able to capture these historic lights at sunrise.

In the first photo we were in Marblehead Ohio and were able to find a place to stay just across the street from the lighthouse. I set my alarm and got up when it was still dark. I had checked out the lighthouse the day before so I knew where I wanted to set up my tripod for the best shots.

I took several shots before sunrise and was anxiously awaiting the sunrise. Just before the sun peaked in the sky an airplane went across the sky leaving the contrails you see in the photo. I think it adds a bit of interest.

The second photo was taken in Two Harbors Minnesota. In the case the lighthouse is also a bed and breakfast where we stayed for the night. This was fantastic because I was able to go outside and photograph the lighthouse at all hours of the day and night. It was a real dream come true for me. This photo was taken in the early morning hours just before sunrise.

Marblehead at Sunrise

Marblehead Ohio
Marblehead Ohio | Source

Early Morning Two Harbors

Just before sunrise the sky takes on a warm glow of colors.
Just before sunrise the sky takes on a warm glow of colors. | Source

Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse

Jupiter, Florida

This lighthouse is in Jupiter, Florida where we have visited each March for the past five years. I have been fortunate to be able to photograph this lighthouse from many angles and at various times of the day. The first shot has been enhanced with a painted filter in Photoshop to give it the feeling of a painting. In the second photo I set up my tripod in the parking lot to get a photo of the lighthouse at night. It has spotlights on the lighthouse and the beam was shining in the light.

Jupiter Lighthouse

Jupiter Inlet Florida
Jupiter Inlet Florida | Source

Jupiter Lighthouse at Night

Jupiter Lighthouse at Night
Jupiter Lighthouse at Night

Lighthouses of the Outer Banks

North Carolina

The Outer Banks of North Carolina is a great place to photograph lighthouses. We spent a week down there and were able to photograph five different lighthouses.

Outer Banks Lighthouses

Here are the views I liked best of each lighthouse
Here are the views I liked best of each lighthouse | Source

Capturing the foreground

If a lighthouse has an uncluttered foreground it can be useful in drawing your eye toward the lighthouse. In this photo I walked past the lighthouse on the New Jersey shore and turned around and captured the lighthouse with the sandy foreground.

I also like the way the puffy clouds moved right behind the lighthouse as I was taking the shot. I took several shots and each one was different as the clouds moved quickly.


Lighthouse on New Jersey shore
Lighthouse on New Jersey shore | Source

Have you ever photographed a lighthouse?

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    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 4 years ago

      Great summary... I was numerous time in FL, but I know only 2 lighthouses: St Augustine and Kay Biscay.

      I like lighthouses and with your help I learn so much about the ones I don't see yet. Using my little experience I think it is not easy to photograpjh them. Thanks Mary Beth

    • Joan Haines profile image

      Joan Haines 5 years ago

      Yes, but it was hard to get a good angle on it. It seems you're always too far away or too close, or something's in the way. i appreciate your own personal photos on here. Angel blessed.

    • Elric22 profile image

      Elric22 5 years ago

      I grew up in Ponce Inlet, FL. The lighthouse there looks very much like the Jupiter beach lighthouse. Very nice work!

    • profile image

      ScamsOfTheHeart 6 years ago

      I just recently photographed Marblehead Lighthouse on Lake Erie. It's my first one and I had a great time.

    • profile image

      FarmerTom 6 years ago

      The lighthouses are night are really special. Great lens!

    • deyanis profile image

      deyanis 6 years ago from Oz

      Lovely collection of lighthouse shots, Cape Florida Lighthouse & Jupiter Lighthouse at night are my favorite. Thank you for sharing your tips on how to take lighthouse photograph. I photographed 2 lighthouses before but I never take any lighthouse shots during night time.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Sorry, I sent my previous comment before saying what a beautiful lens this is!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      No, and I'm sorry to say, I've never even seen a lighthouse except in pictures.

    • LikinTrikin LM profile image

      LikinTrikin LM 6 years ago

      Living in NJ we've photographed all that our state has. We were able to do it by participating in the NJ Lighthouse Challenge. Lots of fun and a chance to see all of our lighthouses. I absolutely love your photographs!!!

    • CherylsArt profile image

      Cheryl Paton 6 years ago from West Virginia

      Beautiful lighthouse photos. I especially like the Jupiter Lighthouse photographed at night.

    • TapIn2U profile image

      TapIn2U 6 years ago

      So cool. This lighthouse is very lovely. Want to visit it someday and take a lot of photos. Great job!

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 6 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Your lighthouses are so beautiful. You are very talented. Thanks for sharing this information on Lighthouse Photography

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 6 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      Another beautiful lighthouse lens.

    • profile image

      aishu19 6 years ago

      These lighthouses look spectacular... I have taken a picture of 1 or 2 that happens to be on oue way when we go sightseeing... I am glad you enjoy lighthouse photography

    • clouda9 lm profile image

      clouda9 lm 6 years ago

      Love all the shots, although I have to admit the Bodie House shot with the tiny tilt and background blur really caught my eye!

    • ChrisDay LM profile image

      ChrisDay LM 6 years ago

      These images are wonderful - thanks

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

      MargoPArrowsmith 6 years ago