Golden hour. You've probably had at least 1 photographer in your lifetime tell you that's the best time to schedule your session, right? If not, there's a reason we're so smitten with these two special times of the day. But which one is the best fit for you? Let's break down these equally amazing times of the day so you know exactly why we're so in love with starting and ending our day with photography.
When we say "Golden Hour" it's more like "Golden 45 Minutes" and depending on the location, maybe even less time than that.
The exact time we start shooting. Sure, we may grump and grown getting out of bed at 5:45am but trust us when we say, it's totally worth is. Sunrise has a little more romance to it's photos that sunset; or so we think. If sunrise is at 7:15am then we'll ask you to be on site and ready at 7:00am (always 15mins before) so that the moment that sun breaks across the sky, we're ready. Not to mention, when that 45 minute window is gone...it's gone!
The light is a little brighter in the morning which is why we'll choose more open backdrops for your session. If you're going for a more "light and airy" look then sunrise is your jam. We could also be blessed with some beautiful morning fog if we're lucky which makes for some truly epic shots. Just remember, shooting in the morning doesn't allow us more time for your session because once the sun rises too high (that 45min mark) we won't be able to shoot in the open anymore. Soft sun does dissipate!
The classic, to-go, beautiful light to end the day. Commonly thought to be the best time of day to plan your session because the light is less harsh than during the middle of the day. Since the sun's rays have further to travel when they are low on the horizon, they have more atmosphere to penetrate to get to you. This makes the light less intense and is offset better by the indirect light that will also hit you. This makes the light that does his you wrap around you instead of down you to make photos look more flattering.
So when would we shoot? If sunset is at 6:30pm we'd want to begin at 5:30pm. This will allow us to move about our location and capture images with the setting sun for a beautiful variety. If you're a fan of more dark and moody images, then by all means, step on up for sunset!
But what if it's cloudy you ask? Still perfect! Clouds give us way more freedoms of where we can shoot since we don't have to worry about strong harsh lighting. Since fall and winter tend to give us more clouds at the start and end of the day, we'll likely be able to move from spot to spot giving a little more variety in your backdrops in one location.
WHAT TO AVOID?
So with this new knowledge about lighting, you can assume that the "worst" times to shoot are mid-day. Typically, we prefer to avoid sessions between 10am-3pm whenever possible. It's during these times that the sun is overhead and drips down the top of your head, creating shadows on your nose, cheek bones and under eyes. We completely understand that this might be inconvenient, especially for little ones because yes, witching hour is absolutely a thing, but in order to get the quality of photo that you've come to expect from our team, we don't fight with mother nature. If we have to plan a session mid-day, we'll be looking for somewhere with cover, indirect light such as a downtown cityscape or indoors in the studio where we can control light 100% of the time.
"But you shoot mini sessions from 9am-3pm" you may recall. We do! Our minis location is picked with all the lighting factors in mind. You'll also notice that we don't move. Once we're set, we're set for the day which means the spot we've selected is covered and blocked by the sun no matter the time of the day. You'll never get the direct glow from sunrise or sunset but the consistency of beautiful light will remain. When dealing with one and only one backdrop, it's easier to plan around the sun. For portrait, maternity, or wedding photos we're always moving so this means we want to be able to work with many backdrops that give us the best lighting possible.