Best Time to Take Photos Outside:
When is the best time to take photos outside? I am asked that question often as a family photographer.
There are many things to consider when booking your outdoor portrait photography session. Whether it is for a family session, a maternity session or any session, you want to ensure your images come out looking stunning. Many people think that the afternoon would be the best time to photograph since there is plenty of sunlight. But, this is actually one of the worst times to have an outdoor portrait session.
The afternoon light from the sun is often harsh and strong which causes unflattering shadows. While diffusers and shade can help reduce these shadows it still isn’t ideal. So what are the best times to book your outdoor portrait photography session?
The Golden Hour
Any professional photographer will agree that the best time to photograph outdoors is during the golden hour. This is typically the hour just after the sun has risen or the hour just before the sun sets. During this time the lighting is ideal because the sun is typically at its lowest point in the sky. As a result, the light is soft and diffused, which creates less contrast and shadows.
Additionally, during these hours there are fewer people out and about. This helps not having to worry about anyone walking in the background or distracting you during the session. The glow of the sun at this time will also help add dimension to the background and allow for more detail to come through the images.
This family session had an early morning start time to beat the crowds on South Congress Avenue.
While this session at Bull Creek Park was later in the evening, after school hours.
How to determine the golden hour?
Since the sun rises and sets at different times every day, you want to make sure you plan accordingly. From about April to September the sun will begin to rise earlier and set later and from October to March the sun will rise later and set earlier. Keep in mind that your location will impact the length of time you will have this ideal light to work with. If you are hiring a professional, they will know this and will plan accordingly.
While it may not seem ideal to have to wake early to get in your outdoor portrait photography session, the images you will come away with are well worth this small sacrifice. Most parents also agree that booking their family sessions earlier in the morning was met with less resistance from their children. Keep this in mind when you decide to book your next outdoor portrait photography session.