When is the Best time to Take Pictures?


The Best Time to Take PhotosOutdoors

Have you ever heard of the term the Magic Hour or the Golden Hour for photographing outdoors?

These terms refer to the hour of sunrise or sunset in which the low sun emits soft, warm light. This defused light makes colors pop and everything look magical. It is a photographers Disney World.

This light is wonderful for photos of anything really.  If you have the great light even and old iPhone 4 can take a good photo (I know iphones take pretty good pictures these days but the 4 is  not typically among them). This is a photo my husband snapped while paying outside at sunset.


The low sun makes for longer and more flattering shadows. When I was a wedding photographer and often had to shoot portraits in the middle of the day I always placed the subjects in shade (which I will talk more about in future post) and someone would always ask “don’t we need to be in the sun” which is an easy assumption to make because I just said how important light is, but we want good light for photos. Standing in the sun midday is like a bright bulb right over your head creating terrible shadows under eyes and chins.

Also in harsh sun midday  can cause harsh highlights and very dark shadows which can lead to overexposure because there is too much contrast. When the sun is low the light is diffused making it more even or within the camera’s dynamic range.

Some cool things you can try during the Magic Hour:

Shooting Backlit
Shooting Portraits
Getting Creative with Shadow
Capturing Sun flair

There are plenty of websites and apps that can tell you when the magic hour is for where you live. Take a look at The Golden Hour or try the Magic Hour app by Elfinda Apps. The magic hour is such a fun time to shoot so grab your kids, friends or pet and get out there. Remember though the magic hour goes by fast so if you are setting up a shoot prepare everything in advance. I know as busy people we can not always shoot during these times so I will be sharing tips about shooting midday in future post.

Have you shot during the Magic Hour? Are you just starting to learn photography? Please share what you would like to learn below and I  will try to make a tutorial about it.


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