When I plan a landscape photography, I use tools like Google Earth so to get an idea of the place I want to shoot; TPE and PhotoPills in order to see the direction of the sun, looking for a frontal or side light and avoiding backlight.

What I still struggle is making decisions based on how the sun influences the scene in terms of lights and shadows, considering not only the direction of the sun, but also possible natural obstacles like a mountain.

I know that Google Earth for Desktop has a feature to simulate lights and shadows and PhotoPills can tell you if the sun will be visible from a certain point. But I can't still figure out how the scene will be.

Do you have any suggestion for me?

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    \$\begingroup\$ In the old days we would physically go and take a look at the location to see what was there. We called it scouting the location. No way to know what the light conditions are going to be at the time you will be shooting but at least you can see the topography and geography. \$\endgroup\$
    – Alaska Man
    Sep 17, 2018 at 18:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ Of course scouting in place is still something everyone does, it's not just something from the old days :-) As you can understand though, if you're planning to go somewhere far away from your hometown and you don't have all the time you want for scouting, you need to get as many information as you can in advance. Furthermore, not every day is the same during the year. If you want to know when the best days happen during a year, it's pretty unlikely to spend one entire year in the same place ;-) \$\endgroup\$ Sep 17, 2018 at 18:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ This question seems like more than an app -- see Alaska Man's answer-comment. And in particular, Tony actually already lists one of the best apps (TPE). This might be too broad, but I don't think it's a dupe. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Sep 19, 2018 at 15:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Alaskaman Can you expand that into an answer? \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Sep 19, 2018 at 15:11

1 Answer 1


There might be an answer to your question now. With the release of TPE 3D, you can see the shadows and lights in the 3 dimensional world.

Of course, this will not show you additional obstacles like buildings, trees.


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