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What time is the best for an outdoor session?

Updated: Dec 15, 2020

Timing is everything in outdoor photography!

To understand why this statement is true let’s figure out what photography is. The word "photography" was created from the Greek roots φωτός (phōtos), genitive of φῶς (phōs), "light" and γραφή (graphé) "representation by means of lines" or "drawing", together meaning "drawing with light". It means that the source of light we have at the scene “draws” our photo. When taking pictures outside our main source of light is the sun. It is our paint and you would be a canvas. The direction and angle of its rays determine where the shadows would fall on your face and body and the amount of light will control the darkness of shadows and brightness of highlights. Those shadows can either emphasize your beauty, when directed on the right side or create unpleasant lines and spots where we don’t won’t to see them. Let’s see how it works on the example. Imagine that light is directly above your head. Where the shadows would be? First on your eyes, because the eyebrows above are casting shadow on them. Then you’ll get a really long shadow underneath the nose. Would it look good? Usually it looks pretty creepy. Although we give such a responsible role to something we can’t control, knowing when the sun is going to shine at the engle we need puts us in charge in the situation. This is when timing comes in to scene. So we already know that we don’t want it to be directly above our head. It mean that all the midday hours aren’t the best choice. Try it when you’ll have a chance. Go outside at noon and take a selfie. All mine taken at this time usually go strait to the “I’m not showing this to anybody” folder. Write in the comments how did your turn out. There are definitely ways to go around this if you’re shooting and the daytime, but usually it involves the use of additional gear, like flashlights, reflectors and scatters. Which means, in most cases, that photographer assistant would be needed and this will make your session more expensive. Or the photographer will try to handle all by himself but it’ll take time to place and adjust the gear for each shot and you’ll have less left for the shooting itself. Finally we got to our main question. What is the best time? Among photographers it has a very romantic name “The golden hour” Speaks for it self isn’t it? In photography, the golden hour is the period of daytime shortly after sunrise or before sunset, during which daylight is redder and softer than when the Sun is higher in the sky. The opposite period during twilight is blue hour, just before sunrise or after sunset, when indirect sunlight is evenly diffused. There’s no exact time that works all year long. It changes every day because the time of the sunrise and sunset changes. I know it’s sometimes hard to get up early and get you and your family ready for the photo shoot, but it is totally worth it! At this time of day the sun is very low. The shadows it creates over a face make it look balanced and enrich its natural beauty and grace. Light directed from the side brightens the eyes and make them stand out at the picture and this is what we always want to achieve at the portrait. A cherry on a cake is color. Morning and evening light colors everything in gold, that’s why this time of day is named like that. It gives skin a bit of a tan on a picture and it looks pleasant to a human eye. Write in comment would you get up early for pretty pictures?


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