When is the best and worst time of day to take pictures? As a budding photographer, you need answers to this question.
First, shooting photos outside is perfect. Whether you like to take portraits, landscapes, or other pictures, outdoors is the best photoshoot place.
Do you know why? Outdoors presents the natural light as is. Also, you can choose different times of day to take photos.
Perhaps you already know about the Golden Hour, the time after the sunrise or before the sunset.
Even if the Golden Hour works for photography, it is not the best time to take photos. What about the worst time of day to do photoshoots?
Do not take photographs at noon when the sun is overhead because of harsh and hard shadows.
Nevertheless, if you want high-contrast pictures, shoot them in high noon. We will discuss this topic more in the rest this comprehensive guide.
The Best and Worst Time of Day to Take Pictures
Best time of day to take pictures
The golden hour
If you want to shoot portrait pictures, you can do it during the golden hour period as it offers the best opportunity.
During the golden hour, the sun lies low in the sky and makes the shadows soft and pleasing. Colors are warmer and prominent at golden hour and can flatter your portraits.
But too much color can overwhelm and distract you.
If you shoot photographs during this time, you will deal with extreme dynamic range in the scene. If your camera can handle that, there is no problem.
As light is more directional, there is less light to fill in shadows on faces. But you can use a reflector to ensure your subjects do not squint due to direct sunlight.
After the golden hour Photography
We can say that the best time to take photos during the day is right after the golden hour. So you will not be within the golden hour time range or far from it.
There are no harsh shadows that could ruin your photos.
During the golden hour, you shoot in reddish-orange colors. But after the golden hour, you can produce photos in yellowish light.
If you want to replicate the cutest skin tones of your subjects, this is the best time to shoot.
Add a reflector to neutralize the yellow tinge slightly and warm up your subject skin tone. After the golden hour, photos are blurry-free, well-lit, and more beautiful.
Blue hour photography
Before the sun rises, and after the sun sets, you can create the best photos. When the sun is behind the horizon, use your night settings to shoot pictures in blue light.
Dawn and dusk photos with a bluish tone capture outdoor scenes so beautifully. City sceneries look charming during the short-lived blue hour because of the yellow artificial lighting.
The worst time of day to take pictures
Over three hours after the sunrise
If the sun rises at 6 am in your place, 9 to 10 am might be the wrong time to take photos. Even if the sun is not overhead yet, it can still produce hard shadows at this time of day.
Black shadows around your subject face can make their eyes darker and difficult to see.
A beautiful photo will give their eyes lovely sparkle. Unless the subject is not facing the sun, their photograph will look dark.
If you took the same picture at around 2.45 in the afternoon, you can have a better output although not the ultimate best.
From around 2.45 in the afternoon to 6 in the evening, the sun will get behind the subject and will produce softer shadows.
From midmorning to noon, the sun will be in front of your subject. So it will generate harsh shadows.
Asking the person to stay in a full shade can help you produce an image with fewer dark shadows.
The absolute worst time to take photos during the day is around 12 or noon. When the sun is overhead, your camera will capture the harshest shadows.
Shooting in the high noon is possible, but it requires better photography skills.
Noon-day sun presents no better angle to get the sun behind you. Shadows on the face are not flattering and can symbolize poor photography skills.
If the situation does not allow you to wait for the best time of day to take photos, choose a shady spot.
Make sure the shady spot does not allow the sun rays to permeate.
If you have the person you want to shoot stand under a tree, ensure it has a thick canopy of leaves to prevent light from peeking. If not, your camera will produce a face full of spots.
Why daylight is highly important to take good photos
Photography relies on the light element. Without light, photography cannot work. Although synthetic light works, natural light is the best choice.
We all know that daylight produces the best natural light. Daylight images look more real and charming.
Above all, natural light is free to use all through the day. A studio may try to replicate daylight photography conditions, but it is for pay.
In addition, natural photography produces the best landscapes and portraits.
Another good thing about daytime photography is that the sun’s position keeps changing the whole day.
To produce pictures with different moods and hues, shoot them in natural daylight. Where the sun is standing can affect the quality of pictures.
For excellent photos, do your session after the golden hour in the morning or evening.
One thing to note is that a professional photographer can take a photo any time during the day.
If they have to take a picture during an awkward moment of the day, they have the skill and knowledge to make it work.
Sun’s position in the sky can affect the appearance of your pictures.
Daylight photography tricks
- How to use the sun- When taking photos during the day, focus on where the sun is standing. If it is in front of the subject, the images will have hard shadows. But, if the sun is behind the subject, the shadows will look smooth and flattering. Place the subject between the sun and the camera. Set the exposure to highlight the subject rather than the background. But, doing so might turn your background white. So, use a reflector to reduce the dynamic range between your subject and the background.
- Shooting in a cloudy weather– A cloudy day presents a shade everywhere to let you take pictures anytime. A dull sky can sadly produce drab pictures. One can prevent that by capturing the sky only slightly. Note that when it is cloudy, the light is generally blue. If taking a portrait photo, blue light is not that great.
- Noon photography issues – Eradicating harsh shadows from your noon photography is easy. Move the subject to a full shade to shoot better photos. Alternatively, take the photoshoot inside a house with a large glass window facing the sun. Use a reflector to balance out shadows on the face.
FAQs About The Best and Worst Time of Day to Take Pictures
Between natural lighting and artificial lighting, which is the best for photography?
If you want to take the best outdoor images, consider doing it during the day. Daytime photography depends on the natural sun’s light, which is free to use.
Natural light produces the most real-looking images.
A photographer should only pay attention to the sun’s movements. Artificial lighting does not change position like the sun.
One needs creativity to make images look real. So we would say natural light is the best choice for photography.
Should I wait until the golden hour period arrives to take photos?
Photographers talk a lot about the golden hour. Although it is not the absolute best time to take photos, it does provide the best reddish-orange natural light.
But what if your commercial photoshoot cannot work in the morning or evening?
As a professional photographer, use your skill, creativity, and knowledge to shoot photos any time of day no matter what.
When exactly is the absolute best time to capture daylight photos?
We love the golden hour, but it has challenges that prevent it from being the ultimate time to take photos.
As it lasts an hour, you have to time it well. If you want to do a morning photo shoot, wait for the golden hour to end.
That should be between the sunrise and the mid-morning hours. After around 2.45 pm, you do not struggle to put the sun behind the subject.
But you can take the best daytime photos an hour to one hour and a half before the golden hour.
When does the blue hour occur during the day?
Few photographers talk more about the golden hour than the blue hour. During the blue hour, you can shoot the most beautiful bluish photos.
Also, it is the best hour to photograph natural landscapes and urban sceneries.
But when is the blue hour? Like the golden hour, it arrives twice a day. First, the blue hour occurs at dawn before the sun rises.
Then, it occurs in the evening after the sunset.
If you want to take beautiful photos of places before people wake up, shoot in the morning before the sun rises.
Adorable pictures of a city about to succumb to darkness are easy to take after the sunset.
Do I need excellent skill and expertise to shoot in the midday?
Yes, because midday is the worst time to take a photograph. Similar to other practical jobs, photography requires practice.
Even if you are not a professional photographer, try to experiment with the overhead sun in the noon.
As you take more photos, you will see where you need to improve. Moreover, follow our tips on midday photography.
Should I consider seasons in my daytime photography endeavor?
Yes, you should consider different seasons because people take photos throughout the year.
Depending on the season, the light will generate varying color temperatures.
Furthermore, the changing daylight hours and weather conditions affect the appearance of light in every season.
Summer saturates the outdoors with light while winter makes them dull and cool. Thus, summer photos will look brighter and warmer than winter photos.
What is the secret to taking amazing daylight images?
Now you know the best and worst time of day to take pictures. To ensure you take the best photos no matter the time of day, take the time to experiment.
Photographers pursue different fields and look for unique styles. Daytime presents the best natural light for taking all sorts of photos.
Note how the light intensity changes as the sun change positions.
Best and Worst Time of Day to Take Pictures: Outdoor Photography
Our discussion today was about the best and worst time of day to take pictures. We emphasized using natural light to produce amazing photos.
Wait for the golden hour in the morning or the evening. Then wait an hour or more to take your photos in the morning.
In the evening, take the best photos an hour or longer before the golden hour. On average, this is the most recommended time to do a photoshoot.
We spoke about noon as the worst time of day to take a photo because of producing hard shadows.
If you can only take a photo in the noon, take the subject under a full shade. That will keep their face more visible and give their eyes some sparkle.
No matter what, note that as you approach the golden hour, your photos will have fewer shadows and more beauty to them.