The “best time of day for a photoshoot” is not something that the average person thinks about, and I don't blame them. Every so often I get told that “surely it doesn't matter too much”? Think again, it matters a lot! As a professional photographer and self proclaimed light magician, I am always prepared to work in any type of lighting condition. I’ll let you in on a wonderful trade (not so) secret though - the best natural light occurs for about one hour after sunrise, and one hour before sunset - we call it “golden hour”.
WHAT IS GOLDEN HOUR?
During these magical hours, the sun is at its lowest point in the sky, producing soft, diffused light which is far more flattering than harsh early morning- or afternoon sun. The imagery created during golden hour can only be described as magical!
WHAT TIMES SHOULD BE AVOIDED?
The worst light of the day is between 10am and 3pm when the light comes mostly from directly overhead. This creates unflattering, high-contrast shadows where you wouldn’t want to see them - under the eyes (which makes you look ill and tired), and under the nose (which makes it seem large and out of proportion). The over bright highlights will make you squint unattractively, and magnifies imperfections & fine lines, making them stand out.
WHAT IF IT’S OVERCAST?
Overcast days are my favourite shooting days! Clouds act as what photographers like to call "nature”s softbox". A softbox is a big white box (usually found in a studio), which is mounted over the light directed at the subject. It is used for diffusion, and therefore softens the light on the subject. That means that if we plan a photoshoot, and it turns out to be cloudy, just see it for the blessing it is! It also means that we can do the shoot at pretty much any time of day (even midday).
GOLDEN HOUR SOUNDS AWESOME, BUT IT WON’T WORK WITH THE KIDS
I do understand your concerns, but remember that this is a special, “once in a blue moon” occasion (and the results will make it MORE THAN worth it). The chances are, your kids are actually going to be so excited to be going out on an adventure, that they’ll forget to be cranky (“Yay, we get to stay up late”)! Let them have an extra afternoon nap on the day of the shoot, and remember to pack snacks and refreshments (and some fun props).
If you still would like to schedule a photoshoot at mid afternoon, I will of course work with you so we can get the best results possible, but I hope this post has helped you reach a better understanding of why scheduling your photoshoot for golden hour (if possible) is important. If you would like to book your own sunset family photoshoot, please get in touch, so we can have fun planning something special and unique just for you!