Most of us really love that golden ‘glowy’ look when it comes to outdoor portraits, and for good reason! Great lighting makes for dreamier all around better photos. So, how do you make sure you get that when you schedule an outdoor photo shoot? It’s pretty simple: begin photos later in the evening as Spring turns into Summer.
During Summertime, daylight savings currently makes for later sunsets. After the month of March passes, naturally, we have the sun out much later in April lasting through September. On many nights, it’s officially dark right before 9pm. Pretty cool! So when is ‘golden hour’ exactly?? Specifically in the Summer months, generally, that glow just before sunset is anytime between 6:30pm-8pm. Technically, on most sunny days, that actual, pretty light that most photographers just love is After 7pm. This is that light that can turn average photos to gorgeous. Next time you’re outside, just observe.
Ultimately, there’s no worries when working with a photographer who can find good natural light for you no matter the time. However, there are ideal times when you should schedule an outdoor shoot. The great benefit about daylight savings for the late Spring and Summer months is that you can do photos after work — meaning definitely after 5pm!
One big NO NO that I personally avoid — and all pro photographers know — is to never shoot during ‘high noon’, or when the sun is at its highest & brightest. During daylight savings, that’s generally between 11am-3:30pm. Now, if this is just inevitable, and you cannot work around that timing, for example on a wedding day maybe, there is a trick to still getting great lighting! Keep reading for that bonus tip.
In summary, if you can schedule your photos for later in the day, the early and late evenings are the absolute best for Summertime. Also, not to mention, cooler temps come back in the evenings. Disclaimer: I’m not saying you can’t get great shots when you’re in direct sunlight. There are creative photos you can make when playing with shadows and light, especially if that’s a certain style you’re looking for. However, personally, I like natural flattering light for my clients. If we can avoid shooting in the middle of the day, we won’t have to worry about sweating and squinting — hello! The window of nice lighting in the evenings usually spans for up to two hours before sunset. Of course this can change daily given the weather + cloud situation, but on a super sunny day, just go out and see!
*Lastly, ready for that bonus game changer tip! Make sure the sun is behind the subject. One of my secrets is, if you’re scrambling in the sun for placement, just look for the subject’s shadow. If the subject’s shadow is in front, your lighting is set. If the shadow is behind the subject, your subject will be washed out by the light and squinting. Just try it!*