Hi there! If you’re planning your wedding or engagement session, I’m sure you’ve been trying to figure out the best time for photos! It’s a common misconception that you can take photos any time of the day— because of the way the sun moves across the sky, certain times of the day are much better than others for photos and can make a DRAMATIC difference when it comes to getting photos that you’ll enjoy!
While I try to cater to my couples, I will let you know if your proposed session or wedding portraits time is ideal for lighting or not! I want to serve to be a resource to you and to make sure you get the very best photos that you’ve invested in!
If you literally can only take photos during the worst times of the day, this list isn’t here to make you feel ashamed or nervous- I will still do the very best I can to make your photos look dreamy and amazing. This article just serves to educate clients on the best time of day for those creamy, dreamy photos.
Also, one other note: If it’s overcast, you can shoot any time, anywhere. All of this information goes out the window when it’s overcast- because the sky literally acts as a reflector so you get even light all day.
Worst Time of Day— 12pm
The reason why this is the worst time of day for photos is the fact that the sun is directly overhead in the sky- this creates a shadow effect on your face that isn’t flattering and, if you’re facing the sun, you’ll be squinting in the light. My strategy for taking photos from 10am to 2pm is to put you in direct shade, like up against the side of your wedding venue or underneath a tree in the summer. If you have a venue that doesn’t have a ton of direct shade, this is challenging and the location of photos will be limited or we may even have to shoot inside.
Second Worst Time of Day- 10am to 2pm
This time frame isn’t much better— the sun is really high in the sky which will still create a shadow effect, however it’s not as dramatic as the sun at high noon. For this time of day, I’ll try to put you in direct shade or dappling shade- like a tree or other structure. Our options will also be limited at this time of day.
Good Time of Day- Sunrise to 2 hours after sunrise
Sunrise affords absolutely beautiful light which is comparable to sunset- but it’s really early in the morning, which makes this a less popular option. You can shoot literally anywhere at sunrise and directly afterward, up to two hours after sunrise.
Good Time of Day- Directly After Sunset
The time directly after sunset is called Blue Hour, because the colors in the sky change from a golden hue to more blue and purple tones- this is the time where you’d see candy cotton colored skies. You can shoot any way and anywhere during blue hour, but typically I’ll have you face west to get a gorgeous glow on your face. Blue hour lasts approximately 15 minutes after sunset.
Best Time of Day- 2 hours before sunset to sunset
If you want the VERY BEST skintones, dreamy light, sun flares and just general golden awesomeness, one hour before sunset is your best bet—this is called golden hour, and it features the most stunning light and colors. You can shoot anywhere during this time and the colors of the image are more rich and dramatic. I highly suggest taking at least a couple portraits with your partner during golden hour.