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What is the Best Time of Day For Photos?

Timing your session is everything with photography! Lighting can change drastically throughout the day and to keep your session‘s preferred aesthetic, it’s important to look at the best time of day before booking.

Be sure to mention to your photographer the specific mood that you are wanting for your album. Light and airy family photos taken at 10 am are going to be very different looking from a dreamy set of engagement golden hour photos taken at 8 pm, even in the same location!

Even with studio photos, if there is a lot of natural lighting and large windows, this should still be a consideration. A few extra lights may be needed, or even some curtains closed if it’s too much light for that time of day.

The seasons also heavily affect the best time of day for photo sessions. Michigan winters are notoriously long and gray with either too little lighting or blinding light reflecting off the snow. Golden hour in March and July can be hours apart, and noon in November might be perfect for outdoor photos but could be way too bright or hot for June.

Early morning sessions can give bright, gorgeous natural lighting without being too hot, which is important to consider for every attendee. Between 9-11 am can be great for light and airy albums with less shadows. This is often a good time for families with little ones since it falls between nap times and snacks as well.

Early to late afternoon is great for vivid, bright photos with more shadows and contrasting colors. It can be tricky to avoid shadows on the face in your photos taken at noon since the sun is usually directly overhead, so when doing an outdoor session always be aware of shady areas for breaks in the summer heat and for better lighting options. You can still achieve light & airy photos, but subjects can easily get washed out by the sun and hard to see.

Evening sessions are absolutely gorgeous between April-November, but soon after that the sun sets much faster and it can be easy to get stuck with no lighting at all. I always look up golden hour times for my location that day before scheduling and adjust if needed to make sure to get the perfect, colorful lighting. These hours are great for maternity, engagement, wedding photos and anything that needs a dramatic touch.

The best time of day will vary for every person and every session. If you’re still unsure of what would work best for you, I would be happy to chat more with you to achieve the perfect look for your session!

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