Planning tips: Midday, Golden Hour, or Blue Hour?

Photography depends on light to produce the image but the time of day will really depend on how that outcome will look.

When it comes to booking your session, I will help recommend the time of day that would fit best for your session. Personally, I find that golden hour and early blue hour is the best time for a session, but if you’re not able to meet at sunset or sunrise then no worries we can always do it with midday lighting.

Midday Lighting

Midday lighting can be quite harsh since the sunlight will be directly on you plus it create more shadows, highlights and contrast. I typically try to find shaded areas if possible that way you won’t be washed out by the sun.

I recommend scheduling a session in the midday during the fall and winter months (mid September to early April) in Washington. It is usually cloudy during these months so even if the lighting is harsh at times, it will more than likely be diffused by the clouds.

Engagement session at Mount Rainier during the midday

Engagement session in Carnation, Washington. It’s transitioning to golden hour but it’s still direct lighting.

Early morning pregnancy announcement session in Sedona, Arizona

Golden Hour

Golden hour is my favorite time of the day for that warm and soft lighting that can add a little romance to the photo. I find that this lighting is the most flattering light to be photographed in. You’ll get two different opportunities for golden hour.

Sunrise and Sunset.

Sunrise – it will be soft lighting but also a bit brighter since the sun is coming up.

Sunset – the lighting will be soft but more warm/golden tones then it transitions to cold tones quite fast.

Golden hour sunset couples session on the beach in Oahu, Hawaii.

Sunrise elopement on the beach in Oahu, Hawaii.

When talking about golden hour, everyone thinks of sessions that are outside! Well heres an example of an indoor session during golden hour. There is still that beautiful soft lighting but there are more shadows created from the windows and indoor plants.

As a wedding photographer, I highly recommend setting aside like 10-15 minutes on your wedding day so you can get these romantic and intimate shots during the sunset “golden hour”.

Blue Hour

Blue hour happens before sunrise and just after the sun goes down. During sunrise, you’ll notice the very cool tone sky go into purplish to pink skies then it turns into that golden hour. It’s the opposite for sunset, the sky will be golden then goes from the pink cotton candy skies to very cool tone skies.

This is a beautiful time for more dramatic and moody images but with a sense of calmness.

Maternity session in Anacortes, Washington at the start of blue hour.

Engagement session in Ellensburg, Washington at middle of blue hour.

Elopement at the Salt Flats in Utah during the tail end of blue hour before it got dark.

So, how do you want your session to look and feel? 

Which time of day are you drawn to? 

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