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The best times of day to stage an outdoor photoshoot

The best times of day to stage an outdoor photoshoot

The best times of day to stage an outdoor photoshoot

Whether for a wedding, a corporate event, or just a family gathering, whenever you find yourself with other people in a time and place you’ll want to remember forever, there’s going to be a need for a photographer on hand to capture the moment. If you’re a young, aspiring photographer, this could be your big break!

But even if the setting is perfect for some candid (or not so candid) shots, timing can still go a long way toward determining the quality of the picture. Specifically, the time of day- particularly if you intend to take the photos outside.

Here are the three times of the day that we find yield the best results in terms of snapping fridge-worthy pictures.


Taking pictures of people first thing in the morning doesn’t always work out too well. If your photograph subjects are still somewhat groggy, or simply not morning people, it could potentially be difficult to get them to provide you with a warm, genuine smile. But if you wait until you can be more sure that they’ve settled into their day, you’re likely to get more authentic smiles that convey the fact that they’re enjoying themselves- which is what you want!

On top of that, if you’re taking pictures outside, allowing the sun to rise to the point where it’s directly overhead decreases the likelihood that it will be in anyone’s eyes (either the photographer or the photograph subjects). Unless the mid-morning temperature is unbearable, you’ve got the combination of the perfect lighting and happy photograph subjects!

Early afternoon

Much of what applies to the mid-morning hours also apply to the early afternoon. If the outside temperature is tolerable, you’re most likely going to have happy subjects because they will have had plenty of time to settle into their days and because the sun won’t be beating down in their eyes. The lighting is very similar, too. 

The other thing that the early afternoon has going for it, though, is the fact that this is usually the halfway point of the day. This means that the chances of you interrupting something monumental in order to grab these photographs are slimmer than they are before noon. Tacking a five-minute photoshoot on top of people’s midday lunch break might just be the way to ensure maximum productivity- and the most authentic smiles. Just be sure you’re not pulling people away from their lunch for too long!

Just before sunset

As long as the people you’re aiming the camera at are not directly looking into the descending sun, this is the so-called “Golden Hour” of outdoor photography. Shadows can be tricky to navigate sometimes, but if you’re able to, the warm colors that the setting sun provides for you can make for the perfect lighting. No, that’s not a filter on Instagram; that’s the natural beauty of the sun! 

With that said, be careful not to look straight at the sun itself, whether you’re actually photographing it or not. Even in the final moments of daylight, that can potentially lead to retinal damage.