First of all, thanks so much for stopping by my site! I’m so glad you’re here. I’ve started this series, because I wouldn’t be where I am today without the advice from so many wonderful educators in our industry. I wholeheartedly believe in community over competition, and as a part of that, I want to help others who might just be getting started in their businesses...or who might just be curious about photography & what I do! :) If you have a question that you’d like answered, shoot me an email & you might see it pop up in one of these blog posts!
I’ve been asked all of these questions...often times more than once, so I thought I’d put them into blog posts for anyone who’d like to see my answers!
So...back to our topic...
Because I am a portrait photographer, I have the luxury of being able to schedule sessions at certain times of day. (This is different from a wedding photographer who may have to shoot a first look at noon, because that’s the only time available on the wedding day for portraits.)
I always try to schedule my sessions during the “golden hours” of the day:
Within 2 hours after sunrise (early morning)
Within 2 hours before sunset (late afternoon/evening)
Photographers talk about the “golden hour glow”...and it’s a real thing! Light is softer during the golden hours. This means fewer harsh shadows (which can happen in bright midday light) and more creamy light. It is possible to shoot in harsh light, but because I like to shoot in wide open spaces without much filtered shade, I prefer the golden hours!
As you might imagine, “golden hour” changes throughout the year, because of daylight savings and the different seasons. So, in the summer, sometimes I’ll start a session as late as 7pm, then during the winter months, I’ll begin a session at 3:30pm. I book several months in advance, so when I am scheduling sessions, I always check https://www.timeanddate.com/sun/usa (for Roanoke) to look up the sunrise & sunset times to make sure I don’t schedule something too early or too late! We want to give ourselves the best chance at capturing that golden glow! ;)
A couple of tips for choosing morning or evening:
For family sessions with young kids, if possible, I’ll offer a morning time slot. I’ve found that oftentimes kids are more ‘fresh’ (i.e. less grumpy & more cooperative ;)) in the morning shortly after they’ve woken up! So, morning sessions can work great for families with young kids IF the parents’ work schedules allow for a session at that time. I’ve done afternoon & evening sessions with young kids, too...during the summer we can get a little close to bedtime, though, and that can be tricky!
For most of my other sessions, I shoot in the late afternoons or evenings, because that generally works better for my clients’ work schedules.
The one exception to the “golden hour” rule:
Because newborn sessions are always indoors, I photograph these sessions in the middle of the day...when the light is brightest indoors. My newborn sessions typically take place sometime between 10am and 3pm.
Do you have another question for me? Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and you might just see it in a future blog post!