You can't always choose the time of day you need to take a photo, but when scheduling a session or an event you can plan for certain times of the day that will work better! This can help you with your professional sessions as well as photos you take on your own!
Photos outside! For outdoor photography you want to avoid direct sunlight. Even shade is optimal. So on a cloudy day, shoot any time, any where! If the sun is going to be out you want to avoid patchy light or direct light. So what does that mean?
The best times to shoot will in the early morning or before sunset. You want to avoid the times of day when the sun is highest in the sky. This tends to cause the harshest shadows on the face and be the least flattering. If you don't have the option and you have to take photos at peek sunlight, don't fret! Just find an area where a building or a covered pavilion or something else in the area is casting shade. You want to position the subject of the photo in that shade. It will help keep them from squinting and keep your photos nice and evenly lit!
If you schedule a session with a pro they'll help you figure out the best times to shoot at the location you're interested in and offer insights into the best spots to pose for the best light.
Can't find shade? You can make your own. Grab a reflector, throw blanket or anything else large enough to block out the sun from the subject's face and have a friend, family member or assistant hold it up to block the sunlight.
Tips: Avoid standing under trees that cause patches of light and shade as that can be very distracting on the face.
Indoor Photos! No matter how bright a room looks, indoor photography is always darker than outdoor photos during the day. To combat this you want to schedule your indoor photos for the brightest time of the day! Depending on which way your home faces, how many windows, etc. the brightest time can vary. Choose the brightest rooms, open up all the blinds and take photos facing the windows.
If you're unsure about what spots will work best for your professional photography session, schedule a consultation at the indoor space where your session or event will take place. A walk-through can help your photographer keep an eye out for the best spaces and light. Make sure to schedule walk-throughs during a time of day with similar light to the time of your event!
Turning on indoor lights can help, but since most people buy light bulbs that give off a warm, yellow-ish light indoor lights can cast a yellow tint to subjects in the photos. If you're going to use flash try to put an index card in front of your flash and bounce the light up to the ceiling to disperse it in the room. This helps avoid red-eye and harsh light on the face.
Tip: For really young kids and for pets avoid using your flash as it can irritate their sensitive eyes and lead to very unhappy subjects. Instead grab some cell phones and turn on the flashlights and point them in the direction of your subject from several directions, taking care not to blind them. This can help add even light and avoid the burst from your flash!
Any other tips on the best time to shoot indoors and outdoors? Any questions I can help answer about best times for light?
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