When is the best time for photos? This is a question I get often, and the answer is easier and more complex than you might initially think. Photographers tend to base their answers on lighting, not necessarily time. The truth is that anytime will work for photos, so there are several questions I must ask to help determine what time is best for you and the look that you are going for.
Follow up questions?
What look are you going for?
What time of the year are you looking at for your shoot?
What is the weather looking like that day?
Is it an outdoor shoot, or indoor?
Below you will find my suggestions on what to think about when picking your session time
Golden Hour refers to the hour after sunrise or before sunset. This creates such dreamy photos and a dramatic feel. Most photographers prefer to shoot at this time, as it makes every photo glow with warmth. However, this look can be challenging, depending on the season. In the winter, it is often overcast, diffusing the sunlight and obscuring the sun itself. In the fall, this warmth bounces on the leaves and amplifies the feel of the image.
Blue Hour refers to the hour before sunrise or after sunset. Often the sky starts to turn more of a purplish blue instead of the warmth that golden hour brings. Blue hour can create a feeling of romance and intimacy. However, blue hour only lasts a short time before you run into insufficient lighting. An excellent way to achieve this look without the issues can be to shoot at or around the "golden hour" during the winter. The winter is usually overcast and can appear more "blue" than "golden" at sunset.
When the sun is at its highest point, it can create harsh shadows that fall across your face. Most photographers will shoot at this time, in open shade. You can also back-light your subjects, which is when the light is at your subjects' back, causing some fun halo effects. I will often shoot in the winter during the afternoon, as it has the most light when overcast.
When shooting indoors, it is best to have the most light available, preferably from windows. Therefore, I like to shoot in the morning or early afternoon when planning an indoor shoot.