You asked: What is the best time of the day to get my engagement photos done?
If you're a couple trying to figure out when's the best time to get your engagement pictures done, then this blog post is for you! This is one question that almost always comes up when couples are in the process of scheduling a photo session with me - whether it be an engagement session or anniversary session. So I thought of breaking it down a little bit in this blog post to help out couples like yourself. Let's dive in!
- The other most commonly asked question is "what to wear for my engagement session". I will address this in another blog post but here's a handy guide with some pointers on how to pick your outfits as a couple for photo sessions.
- I'm currently giving away FREE Engagement Sessions! If you recently got engaged and would like to have gorgeous engagement photos done, you should enter my giveaway! You can win:
- A FREE Engagement Session
- 2 FREE digital pictures from your Engagement Session
In this post, let's take a look at how natural light is different at different times of the day which may play an important role in really shaping the "look" of your photo session. This will hopefully help you decide whether you'd want to do a morning, noon, or late-afternoon session.
Morning Engagement Sessions
Depending on the time of the year, my sessions start as early as 7:30 in the morning! The light at this time of the day is nice and soft. It is more golden and flattering on my couples than (say) the light mid-morning around 10 or later. This certainly doesn't mean that we cannot make beautiful pictures at 10 AM or later but it just means that the light later in the morning is, well, different. The first set of pictures below was taken in that early morning light which, to my eyes, seems to almost wrap around my subjects in a very flattering way.
You'll notice in the second set of pictures below, taken mid-morning, that the lighting on my subjects is more "defined", for lack of a better word. The difference is subtle but evident enough to warrant a mention. As a photographer, light later in the morning is actually easier to work with and provides more latitude to make pictures. I personally like both the "looks" and it really is preference of the couple to choose one over the other.
Afternoon Engagement Sessions
This leads us to the 12 noon - 2 PM or so time frame. Without a doubt, the light during this time of the day is harsh. However, at times, as a photographer, I don't get to pick the times of day when my couples are available. Even if the light is harsh, we can still make beautiful pictures at high noon. The pictures below were shot at around 1 PM. In June. In Phoenix. It was well over a 100 degrees that afternoon. However, we still made some nice pictures! As a note, not all locations will lend themselves as nicely to making beautiful pictures at this time of the day. Just something to keep in mind.
Late-afternoon Engagement Sessions
This bring us to the late-afternoon / early-evening sessions that start around 4 PM or so. The sun is lower in the sky at this time and the light is very soft and flattering. This allows me to use light in a variety of different ways.
At the same time, in some ways, the light is harder for me to work with precisely because the sun is really low in the sky. One natural outcome in pictures taken at this hour is lens flare. Some couples love the effect! It's pleasing to the eye and adds a romantic dimension to the pictures.
Another cool picture that I like to make in my late-afternoon sessions is to make silhouettes of my couples. If there is a lake at the location, it almost always makes for a gorgeous backdrop for sunset pictures.
Choosing a Location for Your Engagement Session
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that there is another layer to all the information we discussed in this post - the location itself. While some locations lend themselves better to morning sessions, others seem to be ideal mostly for late-afternoon sessions. Amount of foot-traffic at a location also plays a role in helping select a morning vs. a late-afternoon engagement session.
In summary, your choice of time of the day for your engagement pictures really depends on the type of "look" you're going after. Location choice (e.g. nature-esque, rustic, urban, etc.) and how it plays out at certain hours of the day is also an important factor. If you're a couple trying to figure out when's the best time to get your engagement pictures done, I'd love to help you out! Just send me an email and we can chat!
- Morning session example - Jenn + Jimmy Fall Engagement Session
- Noon session example - Tayler + Cooper @ Chaparral Park
- Late-afternoon session example - Hop + Wayne @ Papago Park
- What are the best locations in Phoenix for Engagement Sessions?
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