Dear Olivia, What Is The Best Time of Day for a Photoshoot?
The time of day for a photoshoot is something that won't necessarily cross everyone's minds, and I don't blame you. Surely it doesn't matter too much? But the reality is, it can matter a lot. As a photographer, I'm always looking for the best light, and the light changes a lot throughout the day. So, what actually is the best time of day for a shoot?
There's quite a simple answer to this question: whenever the sun is lower in the sky. As photographers, we like to call it golden hour! But wait, what the heck is golden hour? It's pretty self explanatory, really! It's a time of day, normally about two hours after the sun has come up, or two hours before the sun goes down, when it's lower in the sky, and creates a really beautiful, orange, golden light! It's a light that pretty much everyone I've ever met adores. I'm particularly in love with it, so whenever I can, I plan my shoots around that time of day.
Of course golden hour is completely weather dependant. You're not going to get that beautiful, golden light if it's an overcast day - and sometimes that's just what you've got to deal with! But on a day of clear skies, you can bet I'm going get extremely excited about sunset.
So, what if it is an overcast day? Well, in some ways, that's a bit of a blessing! Clouds act as what photographers like to call "natures softbox." In a studio, a softbox is a really big box which we'll put over a light, and it acts as a diffuser to disperse and therefore soften the light on our subjects. Some photographers love harsh light; I'm not one of them. So if we plan a photoshoot, and we're given clouds, it's not a big deal because the clouds help to soften the light and diffuse it, making is flattering and lovely on everyone's skin! That means that on a cloudy day, you can do a photoshoot at pretty much any time of day.
But what about if you want to do your photoshoot around midday? Well, you absolutely still can! However, you'll get a much harsher, brighter light, which can simply make the job of a photographer a tiny bit trickier. That's not to say you won't have photos which are just as beautiful. If I'm asked to do a shoot around midday, all I'll do is either backlight you, so that the light isn't hitting you straight in the face, causing all kinds of weird shadows (because that's what sun directly above you will do!), or we'll go on the hunt for a tree! Why a tree? Because a tree will naturally create shade, which in turn creates much softer, more flattering light.
As you can see, the best time of day for a photoshoot doesn't really exist. The best time is the time that you can do, and is most convenient to you, and what kind of light you want in your images. The best thing you can do is talk to your photographer, tell them the kind of images you love, and see what they recommend!
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