what time of day is best for your photo shoot? Little boy on a toy tractor, on a grassy hill. Late afternoon sun is streaming down on the grass.

March 24, 2020

What time of day is best for your photo shoot?  Photographers usually prefer to schedule sessions either near sunrise, or near sunset. That’s my preference. That’s when I feel your photos will be most beautiful, most striking.  Why? For natural-light photographers like me, it’s ALL about light. 

Light creates the magic.

When we take photos outside, we plan for the times of day when the light will give the effect we’re looking for.  Most of the time, for me, that means shooting close to “Golden Hour”, or the time shortly after sunrise, or before sunset.  That’s when the light is softer, more golden (hence the name,) and low enough in the sky to not create harsh shadows.  It’s a beautiful, moody, romantic, soft effect we can get by taking our photos around these times of day.

Midday sun can be harsh and less flattering.

Of course, I can be flexible if my client needs a different time.  Midday can be beautiful too, but the light is its most bright, often harsh, causing squinting and shadows that aren’t as flattering. So, at that time of day, I work to find shaded areas where we can filter that strong sun a bit.

Light affects our photos indoors too.

Even when we take photos indoors, the time of day determines what our photos will look like.  Early and late in the day, when the sun is not right above the rooftops, we can get beautiful streams of golden light through our windows, or through an open door.  It’s so cool and fun to shoot in different lighting situations, and get very different looks!

Early mornings or just before sunset.

So now you know why photographers like to schedule our photo sessions when we do – it’s not that we’re trying to make life more difficult!!  Knowing that it’s often not the best time of day for little ones just before dinner, I sometimes suggest an early morning session, just after sunrise.  Younger kiddos are notoriously early risers, right?!  They often are ready to roll, and at their best for these morning sessions!  But if mornings don’t work for you, I tell parents to just try to get that early afternoon nap in, and bring lots of snacks and a drink to keep the littles happy!

What time of day is best for your photo shoot?  We can’t always plan for the very best light, and skillful photographers know how to shoot at any time of day.  You can still get beautiful, powerful photographs in the middle of the day, or on a very dark or cloudy day.  Actually, sometimes those photos are our some of our favorites.  But many families love the warm, golden look when the sun is near the horizon, and that’s why we usually plan the times that will give us the feel and the look we’re after.  We can work as a team to set ourselves up for success!



What Time of Day is Best For Your Photo Shoot?