Best Hours For Photography: 20 Useful Tips To Take Stunning Shots


You will always have the memories of the biggest moments of your life and the most special occasions with family and friends. However, capturing photos gives you something tangible that you can treasure for years. Whether you are the subject of the photo or the one behind the lens, it is important to know the best hours for photography.

When Is The Best Time To Take Photos?

The best hours for photography depend on several factors, such as the lighting conditions and the photoshoot’s subject matter. There’s a 99.99% probability that photographers will tell you that the best time to take photos is during the golden hour.

What Is The Golden Hour And When Is The Golden Hour For Photography?

The golden hour, also called magic hour, is the first hour of light after the sun rises and the last hour before sunset. This will vary depending on where you are and what season it is. 

The golden hour provides the best lighting conditions to capture your subject in full detail without worrying about too much contrast and strong shadows. It gives the environment that natural, warm glow that gives that extra feels to the imagery.

The golden hour is ideal for outdoor photography and outdoor portrait shots.

20 Useful Tips To Capture Beautiful Shots

Whether you’re taking pictures of landscapes, or portraits, or talking about wedding photography, not all variables will not be in your control. Hiring an experienced professional photographer who can easily adjust to different situations and scenarios is best. Below are some tips to take incredible images during different times of the day:

Golden Hour

While the golden hours are considered the best hours for photography, it can sometimes feel like the magical 15 minutes that can quickly swoosh by. Remember that lighting can change rapidly per minute, so you must always be aware of the situation. 

1. RAW Format

Saving your digital images in RAW format gives you more control if something goes wrong during the shoot. This gives you a good margin for post-processing.

2. Know When To Shoot

Most photographers swear by snapping their images around 15 minutes before the morning golden hour ends or 15 minutes after the afternoon golden hour. These windows give you a softer effect. The morning golden hour also provides a cooler undertone. 

3. Use It For Backlighting Or Flare

The golden hour will give your subject that magical glow with a warm, hazy effect. Be careful not to underexpose your subject, or you might have to deal with a partial silhouette. You can also angle your shot so the lens captures the flare around your subject.

4. Double-Check Your Settings

Depending on your level of experience, use the correct settings to make the most of the best hours for photography. Go for manual mode so you can play with the backlighting and exposure. A semi-manual mode with aperture priority and spot metering also works.

5. Set Up Early, Don’t Stop Taking Shots

You need to set up your gear and everything in the location early. For example, if you have a wedding photoshoot, ensure you’ve coordinated well with the bride and groom or the whole wedding party so you will not miss the golden hour. Take as many shots as possible because the lighting will constantly change throughout the session. 

High Noon, Harsh Light

High noon is not the best time for photography outside, as you will deal with harsh lighting that’s directly above our subjects.

6. Avoid It!

If you’re taking photos, you need to deal with dark shadows and work extra hard to find beautiful shots. For newlywed couples, make sure your photographer times your shoot during the best hours for photography.

7. Find A Shade

The shade will be your best friend when ambient light is terrible and unbearable. A patch of shade will help deal with the situation better, or be creative to create some shade using a canopy, umbrella, or other things with you.

8. Embrace The Situation

Can’t beat them, join them might be the best approach when things are beyond your control. If you’re doing wedding photography, have the couple look at each other instead of facing the lens. This way, they will not squint and will not have those harsh shadows under their eyes.

9. A Matter Of Perspective

While high noon might not be the best hours for photography, you have to work doubly hard to get the right shots. Pay attention to the angles you can explore. Zoom into the details that can help add to the beauty of the photo collection.

10. Filters

You can also try using filters over your camera’s lens. Polarizing filters are helpful during mid-day shoots.

Blue Hour

Blue hour, just like the golden hour, gives you a small window to take amazing pictures just before sunrise and just before sunset. The contrast is low, and the lighting is subdued, giving your images that cool blue undertone.

11. Accentuate Colors

While colors begin to fade during this time of the day, you can use them to your advantage. Make colors such as reds, oranges, or yellows pop against the seemingly gloomy, bluish surroundings.

12. Use An Extra Light

Proper lighting, from a lamp post or even your mobile phone, can give the imagery that captivating glow.

13. Capitalize On The Mood

The blue hour is great for images with dramatic silhouettes or melancholic scenery.

14. Don’t Forget Your Tripod

You can make the most of your camera’s features when your camera’s stable compared to when it’s handheld. As a result, you’ll have sharper images and better chances of capturing the shot you want.

15. Let The Subjects Interact With Each Other

Like in harsh lighting conditions, having your subjects engage one another will help capture the moment better sans dealing with the fast-changing lighting condition.

Nighttime Photography

While there’s no sunlight, nighttime photoshoots will give you the freedom to choose and control your light source. This paves the way for more dramatic portraits.

16. Play With Your Shutter Speeds

This will allow you to snap images of what your naked eyes cannot see. This may result in interesting pictures of mountains, deserts, and other landscapes. You will also be able to frame artistic shots of cars and other moving objects with motion blur.

17. Bring A Good Dose Of Patience

Even with enough planning and preparation, you might not end up with ideal conditions for a night photoshoot. Look at it as a sort of adventure as a photographer. Work closely with your photographer if you’re a couple doing an engagement photoshoot outdoors.

18. Plan Well

Aside from scouting your location, ensure you don’t forget to bring extra battery packs and dress for success during a nighttime shoot. You must also prepare your gear to avoid lens fog and protect them from moisture.

19. Play With Reflections

Nighttime is the best time to capture reflections. Colors will pop without you worrying too much about natural light. The frame will also be filled with smooth and sharp images,like when capturing a cityscape next to a body of water.

20. Always Have Plan B

If you’re shooting at a remote location or for a destination wedding and something goes wrong with your gear, or the weather gods aren’t suddenly in your favor, always have a calamity plan. Do what you can do with what you have, but the safety of everyone is always the top priority. 

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Married for more than a decade, Randell still cannot forget about his wedding day. His bride was the most beautiful woman in the universe. They planned the wedding together– church, gown, choir, photography, venue, and the works. While he was able to secretly hire a bossa nova singer to surprise the bride, some other things didn't go as planned. He's here to help brides and grooms prepare for their big day!