This weeks ‘tip of the week’ focuses on what is unarguably the most often asked question,
What’s the best time to take our photos?
The answer isn’t as easy as “sunrise” or “sunset” when the golden hours occur, although they certainly are a factor in the final decision. Instead, there are three things that are taken into consideration when determining the best time for your outdoor portrait session, and they are…
1. What’s Your Availability?
I always ask my clients what they already have planned for the date in question. Children these days often have very busy lives. Weekends may be filled with football, soccer, or t-ball games… just to name a few! Since portrait sessions may run up to three hours, it’s always nice to know what else you have planned for the day, so that together, we can make sure you have enough time should you have to rush off somewhere afterwards.
2. What Location?
Perhaps you’ve been dreaming of a family portrait taken on the beach? Something at a trendy, historic downtown location? Maybe one of the many local and state parks? Not sure? Not a problem! This is something that we will discuss in-depth together, determining what your personal vision and style are…. whether it’s traditional or off-the-wall, we’ll try anything once! And once the location is decided, I’ll know what the best time is for the lighting.
3. The Lighting!
In photography we have what’s called the ‘golden hour’, which is the first and last hour of sunlight each day. Typically during these hours, lighting is softer and warmer in hue, unlike in the middle of the day, when the lighting is harsher and more direct. The golden hour is a photographer favorite for beach photos and most portrait sessions are scheduled for late in the afternoon because of this.
If your style is a park or urban location, there’s greater flexibility in the available time for portraits because there’s open shade. What’s that? Think of a lone oak tree in the middle of a field.
The shade provided by that tree is open shade. When a photographer places a subject in the shade and meters for the shadows, the shadowed areas “open up” and look soft and colorful, but the background is often blown out, or over-exposed. A good photographer knows how to use off-camera flash to properly balance the shadow areas with the lighted background behind. Using these techniques, it is possible to photograph at any time of the day! Often with a far more dramatic result.
Recap - the three most important factors in determining your outdoor photo session are:
Your schedule & availability, what your personal style & preferences are for photos and the best lighting choices to bring the most life, color and vibrancy to your photographs. If all of that fails you, just leave it to me! It’s my job to make you and your family look their absolute best.