Lanting was born in Rotterdam in Netherlands. He studied economics at the Erasmus university in Rotterdam and later immigrated to the United States. He now lives in Santa Cruz, California, and operates a studio and gallery as well as a stock photography service. Lanting's wife Christine Eckstrom is a writer, editor, producer, and works on joint books of nature photography. Lanting works in many different parts of the world, including the Amazon basin, Africa and Antarctica. His photographs are regularly published in National Geographic, where he served as photographer-in-residence. He is also featured in Outdoor Photographer, Audubon, and Life. A 2005 exhibit in the Field Museum of Natural History, entitled Jungles, focused on the plants and animals of the rainforest.