What Time of Day Should I Have My Photo Session?

Family Pictures, Lavender Green Photography

Jun 22, 2020

I always aim to schedule your photo session during the most beautiful light of the day. I know you’ve invested time, money, and heart into your photo session, and I aim to make the most of it! Including scheduling it during the BEST lighting of the day. If you find yourself wondering, “What time of day should I have my photo session?” here is a little info on Golden Hour!

In the photography world, the hour or so after the sun comes up, and before the sun goes down, are called “Golden Hour.” The reason is that the light is such a lovely, warm golden color if it’s a sunny day! In most locations, this is the most flattering time of day for your photo session.

I imagine the sunlight, like a flashlight. Have you ever seen someone hold a flashlight under their chin to tell a scary story? The lighting is harsh and unflattering. Switch the light source to above, and you’ve got the sun shining down in the middle of the day. Dark, unflattering shadows! Picture moving that flashlight far away from your face so the light can spread out and diffuse… much better! Add in the warm glow that sunset offers, and the occasional beautiful sunburst from behind- (like in this sunset couples session). You’ve got the makings of a beautiful sunset background!

I also appreciate golden hour lighting because shadows are longer, and the spaces we have to play in are more evenly lit. If you’ve had a play-based session with me, you know that we move A LOT! And I like to let those kiddos PLAY in between shots! Longer shadows mean more room for those kiddos to move within even lighting.

On the contrary, if the sun is high in the sky, there can be so much contrast between the bright lighting and the darker shadows! A camera doesn’t balance the lighting out the way your eye does. It tries to find the best balance for the lighting that you’re in, but in mid-day bright lighting, that balance isn’t always ideal. Skin tones can end up flat, and backgrounds can be blown out when lighting is harsh and bright.

I also take the time of day into account when selecting your photo location. Some locations have an earlier or later “sunset” because of the topography. So if we MUST shoot somewhere earlier or later than golden hour, due to weather, I will likely try to select a location that has nice light at the time we’re able to shoot.

Let’s be honest- sunset in late June is late! It feels like 8:00 should be BEDTIME, not photoshoot start time! But truly, you’ve invested in the session! You’ve purchased the clothing, the session itself, and put time into the process! Staying up late to make the most out of your investment is going to elevate your session. Let’s make the most out of everything you’ve put into it! And if you schedule your session close enough to the sunset, you may get to take advantage of BLUE HOUR! The 20-30 minutes before or after the sun is gone where a lovely blue hue and even light is cast on everything.

Photo taken 10 minutes after the sun was gone- during blue hour.

If it’s STILL hard to navigate an early/late start time, consider a late fall or a spring shoot, when sunrise and sunset are a little more ideal for Little Ones. But let’s find a way to use the light and make the most out of the beautiful golden hour sunlight for your photo session! When selecting our shoot time, let’s take advantage of the BEST light of the day!