Outdoor Photoshoot? Learn the Best Time to Take Pictures Outside and learn the worst time of day to take pictures. What about the golden hour for photography – we’ll talk about that too!
Lighting…lets face it photography is ALL about light. Manipulating light in various aspects to create a beautiful image. I get asked this question all of the time…and it’s quite legitimate and it will change your images…change them for the better!!!!
First let’s talk about the…
Worst time of day to take pictures
So many photographers don’t even think about when they are shooting portraits or pictures and what the lighting is like outside. I would highly suggest not shooting in the harsh sunlight because it creates shadows and harsh lighting…it’s just hard to get great pictures and you’ll become frustrated because you aren’t getting the result you wish. Avoid it and don’t schedule a session during the middle of the day for a portrait session…unless you are shooting in open shade and you are guaranteed to stay in the open shaded area.
Example: The first picture was taken out in the harsh lighting. The second picture was taken at the same time but in open shade to avoid harsh lighting.
Best time to take outdoor pictures
#1 early morning- within an hour of sunrise
#2 late afternoon – within an hour of sunset
I know…we don’t always have the opportunity to shoot in these ideal times but if you can THIS IS THE TIME! The light is beautiful and you will eliminate shadows and harsh lighting. If you have any control over your shooting times…take control and shoot during this time! Even if you are a landscape photographer- get up early or stay around in the evenings…this is when it happens!!!
So let’s break it down into seasons:
What is the best time of day to take pictures outside in the summer?
I like to shoot late afternoon…since the sun has shifted and we have longer days I like to first think about when sunset is and then move myself back about an hour and a half and start then. I typically know how long my sessions will last so I can gauge my time frame based on that. i.e. a family session approx an hour so I gauge from there.
Best time of day to take pictures outside in the winter?
Well I take the same approach as in the summer…I find out when sunset is and work backwards. If a client can’t do afternoon I like to shoot early morning…although winter months you’ll be a bit warmer in the evenings if you can!
Best time to take pictures outside in the fall?
Same as above…work myself from sunset or sunrise…although to me the fall lighting is beautiful in the evenings with the golden sunshine with the colored leaves! I still always prefer afternoon sunlight if I possibly can arrange it to work that way for me.
What Time is Golden Hour?
Oh my favorite is golden hour…and I have a whole article written for you on this topic! Yet what is gold hour? The golden hour is the period of daytime shortly after sunrise or before sunset. It’s during which daylight is softer than when the Sun is higher in the sky – as in midday. Leaving a much nicer lighting to your subjects if you shoot during golden hour.
Ok so maybe the above situations of shooting at golden hour isn’t ideal for you – consider these other options of getting great photos during the day outside but for great lighting!
- Overcast Day
- Cloudy Day
- Find a shaded area – this could be from a building providing shade, a porch area from a home or even a canopy of trees. Be careful with the canopy of trees only because you may still get speckled spotting from light patches coming through. You don’t want those patches showing up on your subjects.
Remember if not one of these lighting situations works best for you and what you are trying to accomplish in your picture….then…Ditch the rules and capture the image that makes your heart happy and makes you smile. In the end you are the one creating art and need to love the picture you create.