4 Tips for Shooting Natural Arches

By now, it’s probably no secret that I have a love for natural arches. I even have a whole section of my portfolio dedicated to them!

Despite my love for these natural beauties, however, it can be really hard to get a photograph that makes them look like little more than big holes in even bigger rocks. As such, I find arches to be a challenging subject!

That’s why I’d like to share with you 4 tips I’ve learned over the years for shooting natural arches.

Tip 1: Get Low

Bolton Twin Arch East, Daniel Boone National Forest, Kentucky.
Bolton Twin Arch East, Daniel Boone National Forest, Kentucky.

One way to make an arch look epic in photographs is to get down low. By adjusting your perspective in this way, you’re helping convey the feeling of the arch looming over the viewer.

Tip 2: Shoot with a Wide Angle Lens

Schoolhouse Arch, Daniel Boone National Forest, Kentucky.
Schoolhouse Arch, Daniel Boone National Forest, Kentucky.

One of the properties of shooting with a wide-angle lens is that it will make distances appear more dramatic. As such, shooting arches with a wide-angle lens will make the span appear more dramatic and impressive. This tip will also enhance the effect of shooting from a low-angle.

Tip 3: Include the Environment

Natural Arch, Daniel Boone National Forest, Kentucky.
Natural Arch, Daniel Boone National Forest, Kentucky.

Remember earlier when I said that it can be hard to make an arch look like more than just a hole in a rock? This is where including some of the environment can really help out.

This is especially true if you have a really nice surrounding, such as fog and fall colors. Things still work well with more lackluster conditions, however. Objects, such as trees, can help give you a much-needed sense of scale when dealing with larger arches.

Sky Bridge, Red River Gorge, Kentucky.
Sky Bridge, Red River Gorge, Kentucky.

Tip 4: Play with the Sun

Grove Arch, Daniel Boone National Forest, Kentucky.
Grove Arch, Daniel Boone National Forest, Kentucky.

Occasionally the sun can be your best friend when trying to add a bit of interest to an arch. Consider the above shot of Grove Arch, located in the Daniel Boone National Forest.

All things considered, this isn’t the most breath-taking arch in the whole world. In fact, I wouldn’t even rank it in my top 100. Despite that fact, however, it’s still possible to get an interesting shot of it by taking advantage of a sunburst over the arch.

Your Tips?

Got any tips of your own for photographing natural arches? Please feel free to share them in the comments!