Best time of day for a photo shoot
Updated: Jun 8
Probably the number one question I get is "what is the best time to do our photo session/shoot?".
The short answer is...what time of day you like better? However, your photos will look a certain way, or will have a certain light color depending on how high or low the sun is at the time of the shoot.
Before I delve deeper into this, let me say that a good photographer will be ready for a shoot no matter the time of day. And I mention this because you may encounter some photographers not shooting at a particular time of day and this can be a sign that he/she is not skilled in low light photography or the use of artificial light and this can lead to dissatisfaction with the white balance (yellow or blue tinge on the photos) or grainy looking images.
SUNRISE OR EARLY MORNING PHOTO SESSIONS
This is a great time for a photo shoot if you love the early morning light.
1. You get really pretty soft but bright light, not yellow light as it happens during sunset.
2. Great for early risers.
3. If the morning is cool and depending on the season, it can be a really comfortable time for a session.
1. There is nothing wrong with this time of day except if you or your family are really not morning people.
2. Clients tend to be groggy and in a hurry because they have the whole day ahead.
3. You are not going to get a sunset...obviously. Believe it or not, I've had clients booking an early morning shoot and when they receive the photos ask why they did not get golden light. Well, golden light happens when the sun is around the horizon but it is more golden in the evening hours rather than early morning.
4. Here in Florida, the day can get hot pretty quickly. During an early morning shoot, it can start getting hellishly hot within minutes after the sun rises.
MIDDAY PHOTO SESSION
Most photographers will tell you that midday sun is too harsh for a photo session. This is not true if you are a skilled photographer.
1. Midday sun is bright and can bring out lots of details on the photo without sacrificing photo quality (grain in photo for example).
2. Photos look lively.
3. Clients are usually at their peak! People tend to be perky during early afternoon.
1. You will not get golden sunlight.
2. Depending on the season, it can be really hot, lots of sweat and squinting. All this is very manageable but some clients just do not tolerate heat or sun on their faces well.
EVENING (GOLDEN HOUR)
This is the most popular and most requested time of day...and you can see why! My personal favorite, you can see the plethora of colors in the sky and this type of light is most flattering on everyone's skin. Everybody looks younger and healthier.
Golden hour happens from 1 hour before sunset to at least 30 minutes after sunset...give or take a few minutes.
However, if your session happens too late and your photographer is not very skilled, the photos can turn out too dark and grainy and they may even loose detail. Make sure your photographer is skilled with low light and with using artificial lights (flash).
BONUS: WHY AN OVERCAST SKY IS NOT SUCH A GOOD IDEA
I know lots of photographers are going to disagree. My reason for saying this is that no, the clouds do not act like a soft box. To me, the overcast sky tends to make the photo too dark at the correct exposure forcing me to increase the exposure and in turn, this makes the photo loose detail on the sky and background objects. Some photographer's style are actually a bit overblown but my style does not fit this. My clients choose me because of my colorful, detail-rich images.
What do you think? What is your favorite time of day?
I hope this blog was helpful!
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