How to decide the best “lighting” for your photo session!!!

Okay, this is a SUPER important topic that sometimes gets overlooked but it makes a HUGE difference in your photos.

When I ask you about the time that you want to have your photos taken it is obviously super important to think about things like children’s nap times, if you will be hungry or tired during that time…. But to me the most important thing to consider is LIGHTING!!!!!

You see, your photos WILL look different depending on when you have them taken. If you chose sunrise you may be able to get some fog in the background and you certainly will get the soft light before the sun rises. If you want something in the middle of the day your light will be bright with overexposed areas. Deciding on sunset you will get both soft light and warm tones (that’s why they call it golden hour).

My FAVORITE time to have a photo session is 10 minutes before sunrise or an hour before sunset. These two time frames give you the most diverse lighting situations.

Sunrise sessions start with soft light giving beautiful tones and no squinty eyes (yay)!!! As the sun rises you will get brighter images and I am still able to place you with your backs to the sun giving you a back-lit look with no harsh shadows.

Sunset sessions are completely opposite. We start with a bit of a brighter and harsher light. As the sun sets you start to get the warm tones and just before sunset you get a beautiful soft light to end your session.

So the next time you are deciding about when the best time for your photo session is, keep in mind this blog post. I will post photos below explaining the different times and lighting situations so that you better understand and decide what “look” you prefer for your photographs.



Below are photos with the soft light of the morning, if your lucky you will get some fog in the early hours. 

Below are sunrise photos as the sun is starting to become brighter, just before it would hit their faces. So technically these photos are taken facing the sun but since the sun is behind the buildings it allows for a somewhat softer and warmer look.

Below are sunrise photos with my subjects being back-lit as the sun is rising over the horizon.




Below is the bright light that you will get if you have your session while the sun is bright and shining. It is best to have a location the has shade and where the subjects can be back-lit (meaning their backs facing the sun). Bright light isn’t great for lighter colored hair if there isn’t a darker background because the highlights tend to get blown out during this time causing light hair and skin to blend into the brightness of the sky. This time can be gorgeous but can also offer quite harsh light and shadows if not photographed properly.

Below are photos taken in the morning after the sun has risen. Without shade the brightness will blow out highlights and create very bright images.

Below are photos taken during the middle of the day with shade and having the subject back-lit. 




Sunset, also known as golden hour is just that… Subjects can face the sun as well as being backlit. These two options create drastically different images. Backlit images tend to blow out the sky and allow for the subjects to be the center focus. If the sun is illuminating the subjects from the front then the sky will retain it’s bright colors but in this instance it is usually too bright for the subjects to look into the camera so this time is great for capturing wide angle shots with more movement and interaction instead of posing.

 Below are sunset photos fully illuminating the subjects, retaining the color and detail in the sky, as well as adding contrast and deep tones to the images.

Below are sunset photos with the subjects back lit. This allows the subjects to look into the camera and be the focus of the image but it blows out the skyline in the back.