Some advice for desert photography is to use a UV filter for the camera, as this can help offset the brightness of the environment that can often be detrimental to any composition, and to ensure that the camera is perpendicular to sunlight direction. This technique helps place shadows in the composition, which in turn increases the impression of depth.
In most cases, actual camera settings may not need to be changed (anymore than normal) as using special approaches and techniques can help to offset any difficulties caused by shooting in desert conditions.
The use of shadows can greatly enhance any desert compositions, and there are a number of ways to make sure that they create the best possible effects in desert photography. Morning and evening means the sun will be close to the horizon, for example. Making sure that the sun is not directly behind the camera, therefore, means that shadows will be equally distributed in the composition, as opposed to being limited when the sun is directly behind the camera. This helps to make a much more detailed and vibrant image.
Including a sense of scale is also important, especially when shooting in desert environments. Using large rocks, buildings or any other large structures - natural or man-made - can help instill a sense of scale into a composition.