When is the best time for a photo shoot?

As much as none of like to wake up early – or stay up late – when it come to photo shoots, we may have no choice. We asked one of our favorite photographers, Alisa Ferris, for her expert opinion.

  • Determine your ideal timing based on your desired outcome: First, troll through your photographer’s portfolio and determine which photos speak to you. Do you like bright daytime images? Nighttime cityscape shots? Or sunset beach photos? Visualize in your head what the final product will be.
  • If you like bright, daytime images, then mid-morning or mid-afternoon is best. Avoid the 12 o’clock hour when the sun is overhead and casts dark shadows under eyes and chins. To receive the best results, head for bright, shaded light. ”You want consistent lighting on your face,” says Alisa. “This not only prevents unattractive shadows, but also softens your skins and hides imperfections – and you can still achieve those vibrant colors you seek.”
  • If you’re going for a romantic, softer look, schedule your session during “The Golden Hour”; This is typically 1 to 1.5 hours before sunset. “The sun’s light contains its own color hue, which changes throughout the day, depending on the time and the sun’s position,” she explains. “Towards the end of the day, that light turns into a golden color which results in beautiful, natural, sun-kissed photos.” Plan to start your session 2 hours before sunset, so you can quickly get acquainted with your photographer and maximize the sun’s beautiful rays.
  • If you’re interested in dynamic and dramatic nighttime photos, obviously, you’ll want to wait until the sun goes down! Be sure to ask your photographer if they are bringing artificial lighting to illuminate you and your beloved. Artificial flash or continuous lighting will ensure you receive the best quality image at night; avoid an entire session that use only ambient lighting at night – that results in grainy image quality and odd color hues.
  • If you’re a morning person and on the East Coast, there’s always sunrise photos! Plan to arrive at your session no later than 30 minutes before the sun rises. The sun rises quickly, and you need to be on time to maximize the outcome.
  • Final considerations: location and weather conditions. “Don’t forget to take into consideration your location,” Alisa says, “and by that, I mean, not just the venue, but also the city (and the weather!). A bright and sunny 10AM session on Miami Beach will be much hotter than one in Central Park at the same time of year.”