Ashley Newman Photography
The age old question- when is the best time to take pictures?
Most people know that there is a term photographers like to use called “the golden hour”. It’s my favorite time of the day to shoot, but why is that? I love the colors and being able to chase the sun to create bold images with a yummy warmth to them.
When is golden hour?
The first hour after the sun rises and the hour before the sun sets. This time varies depending on the time of year and where you are.
What is golden hour?
Golden hour refers to the time of day when the sun is “just right” for taking pictures. Golden hour changes depending on your location, your surroundings, the time of year and of course your preferences.
I like to start my sessions about 90 minutes before sunset and 30 minutes after sunrise.
Can you shoot at any time of the day?
Sure! It’s not an easy feat, but a photographer who knows how to use light, is confident in their settings and has a an editing ability/style that can handle full sun will be successful. BUT! And there is a big but!!! Pictures taken at noon (for example) can and will look entirely different than those taken during “golden hour”.
For example, you can pick a location and shoot there at noon. Then return at 5pm and you will have an entirely different look and camera settings. The light at sunrise or sunset is softer, compliments skin tones, reduced harsh shadows on the face/skin and is simply pleasing to look at.
What is blue hour?
This is the time of day right before the sun rises or sets. It can even refer to the twilight hours where there is still just a little bit of light holding on. Photos taken during this time of the day require higher ISO settings, my have what is called “grain” in them, and can look “blue” before they are edited due to the lack of light. I enjoy shooting at blue hour to create a more moody look or for dramatic black and white images. They can really be quite stunning and remind me of my film days in college. There are even some photographers who prefer to shoot at this time or will schedule sessions so they close during that beautiful twilight look.
Ultimately, the best thing to do is trust your photographer. Sometimes that perfect light can come later in the evening, like when summer rolls around. Having a session around dinner time or bed time for your little ones can be a challenge. If your session is scheduled during that time, you may want to touch base with your photographer and see if they offer sunrise sessions. As hard as it can be to get up and get moving, the light is so worth it!!
This family got up at the crack of dawn to meet me in the chilly weather for family pictures. The light we got was everything!! Take a look at their sunrise session and experiment with lighting for yourself. See what works by going to locations at different times of the day. Light is so fun to play with!