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What time should you book your Outdoor Photoshoot!?!

Updated: May 9

Depending on what kind of Magic you want to create, there are three main times of day for photoshoots, & each is perfect in their own way...

The time of day has a profound impact on the quality, and characteristics of light for photography. Understanding how light changes throughout the day allows photographers to anticipate the best times and spaces for shooting specific subjects.

In this post I'll chat about the unique qualities of each time, & share tips on how to create stunning images no matter what time it is. In the world of photography, timing and light are two important factors. The play of light and shadow can transform any ordinary scene into something extraordinary to photograph. Among the various times of day, three distinct periods stand out the most to Photographers. Blue hour, Mid-day, & Golden hour.

All three times of day are ideal for capturing stunning photographs, but each offers unique opportunities and challenges for photographers. In order to harness the magic of each of these different times, you need to know how the light and subject will be affected by the given ambient light.

Now lets dive into these three times of day and explore each of their specific characteristics, and list a few helpful tips for a perfect photoshoot at that hour.

  1. Blue Hour: Blue hour occurs twice a day, just before sunrise and after sunset. During this time, the sky takes on a deep blue hue with hints of pink and purple, creating an almost surreal atmosphere. Blue hour doesn't typically last for an hour; it typically spans around 20 to 40 minutes, depending on your location and the time of year. That is why timing and speed is key at this hour. This fleeting period is prized for its soft diffused light that often adds a dreamy quality to images. Many Photographers love to do blue hour sessions on the beach, since the harsh mid-day lighting is extreme here, often with little or no shade present. Blue hour sessions often give a serene, tranquil quality to photographs,

Tips for Blue Hour Photoshoots:

  • Plan ahead: Use apps to determine the exact timing of blue hour at your location, and be on time & prompt.

  • Embrace the sky: Incorporate the rich colors of the sky as a backdrop or focal point in your compositions.

  • Experiment with long exposures: Soft light can work well to capture movement in your images.

  • Utilize flash: Combine the natural glow of blue hour with artificial light sources for an absolutely captivating contrast on your subject.

  1. Midday: Midday, when the sun is at its highest point in the sky, presents a different set of challenges and opportunities for photographers. While the harsh, direct sunlight can cast unflattering shadows and wash out colors, it also provides ample brightness for crisp, vibrant photos. Contrary to popular belief, midday photography isn't always off-limits; with the right techniques, you can achieve stunning results even in the harsh midday sun.

Tips for Midday Photoshoots:

  • Seek shade: Look for natural shade or create your own using diffusers or reflectors to soften harsh shadows.

  • Use a polarizing filter: Filters were made for a reason! Minimize glare and enhance color saturation by using a polarizing filters to control reflections.

  • Emphasize textures or shadows: The overhead sunlight can accentuate textures and details, use the harsh shadows to your advantage.

  • Experiment with high-key photography: Embrace the brightness of midday by intentionally overexposing parts or corners of your images for a minimalist, high-key effect.

  1. Golden Hour: Arguably the most beloved time of day for many photographers, golden hour refers to the period just as the sun rises, and just before the sun sets behind the trees or mountainside. This is another session when timing always matters. When the sun bathes the landscape in a warm, golden light, it is only for a set amount of 20-30 minutes, before the landscape becomes shade. The low angle of the sun creates gorgeous soft shadows and warm glow that adds a magical quality to photographs taken at this time. Golden hour is coveted for its ability to enhance colors, textures, making it ideal for portraits & landscapes. Any subject that benefits from a touch of golden enchantment will love to shoot at this hour. Sunset is an ideal time for capturing romantic, atmospheric scenes with stunning colors.

Tips for Golden Hour Photoshoots:

  • Arrive early to see where the sun sets: Allow ample time to set up your equipment and scout for the perfect location before golden hour begins.

  • Experiment with backlighting & sun flares: Position your subject with the sun behind them to create a halo of light or sunburst for added drama.

  • Capture silhouettes: Take advantage of the contrast between the golden sky and darkened foreground to create striking silhouettes.

  • Work quickly: Golden hour is fleeting, so be prepared to adapt your compositions and settings quickly to make the most of the available light as it can be lost with cloud cover, or foliage cover quickly.

In the world of photography, mastering the art of timing your photoshoot is essential for capturing the breathtaking images you desire. Whether you're drawn to the ethereal beauty of blue hour, the creative challenges of midday, or the enchanting warmth of golden hour, each time of day offers unique opportunities for photographers to explore and experiment.

By understanding the characteristics of these three key times, and employing the appropriate techniques to photograph in the conditions, you can elevate your photoshoots to new heights. With this small set of tips I hope you can unlock the full potential of your Photography vision, no matter what time of day it may be!!

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