Inspiration can be found anywhere and often in places where we least expect it. Movies have always been a huge part of my life. Besides a great book, it is one of my favorite ways to relax and take my mind off the stresses of the day. As I have grown as a photographer and continue to study light, movies continue to captivate me in a whole new way.

A huge part of photography is about light and angles. Movies are the perfect place to study both of those things. Films not only tell a story but they are the perfect place to learn what angles are best for telling a particular story with photography. Whether the movie is twenty years old or has been just released, I am constantly noticing angles and gorgeous lighting – even if it is just for a few minutes of the film. In fact, I have loved watching some older movies again with a new perspective.

If you need a fresh place for inspiration or have been stuck in a photography rut lately, this list of films might be all you need to see things in a whole new way.

1. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)

Not only does this movie have beautiful scenes and landscapes from all over the world, it is a great reminder that life needs to be experienced and not just observed. As photographers we need to remember to not only take the images, but experience what we are seeing with our lens as well.

2. Pride and Prejudice (2005)

This version of Jane Austen’s classic story is known for its use of light without the use of computer generated effects. Throughout the whole film, the light is used to complement each scene and really show the soft beauty of the English countryside. The gorgeous backlight in this film makes me want to pick up my camera almost immediately.

3. To the Wonder (2012)

This movie is non-traditional, has subtitles and is inspiring simply for the way it was filmed. Different points of view, shots of details and parts of the scene that make up the story as a whole convey the emotion and feeling of what is happening in the story. The angles alone are worth seeing just to inspire a different point of view.

4. Outlander Series (Starz Network, 2014)

I know this is not technically a movie, but the cinematography is too beautiful not to be included on my list. The sweeping landscapes and the light (oh the light!) are jaw dropping. No matter the location of the scene, it is beautifully inspiring and I have yet to not be moved by a single episode.

5. A Little Princess (1995)

Bringing a child’s imagination to life, this movie was a favorite as I was growing up. Looking back on it now, some of the childlike qualities and beautifully lit scenes not only inspire new ideas but show a new perspective on seemingly simple things.