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Best Time of Day to Schedule Your Photoshoot

As a photographer, I get asked a lot about why my sessions are scheduled at certain times of day and if the session time can be changed. While I always do my best to accommodate my clients' schedules, there are a few reasons why I prefer to schedule most of my sessions either early or late in the day.

Family of three standing on the beach posing for a photo in Port Aransas, Texas
Family Photoshoot at Sunrise on Mustang Island, near Port Aransas, Texas

So... What is the best time of day to schedule a photoshoot? And, why are certain times of day better than others?

Do you want the short or the long answers? HA!

Short: Truly this will depend on the photographers' personal preference for their own artistic style of shooting and editing their photos, HOWEVER.... the general majority agrees, and my personal preference is that the first and last hour of daylight, also known as the "golden hour", is the best time of day for natural light photography. So that means that my recommended time of day for a photoshoot will change throughout the year depending on the time of sunrise/sunset. For Example: If the sun is setting at 7:30pm on the day of your session, I would recommend our photoshoot start at 6:30pm and end at 7:30pm. (Make sure to scroll down to read the long answer!)


If you're not familiar with the term, "golden hour" refers to the period of time when the sun is low in the sky, casting a soft, warm, golden light over everything it touches. This light is particularly flattering for portraits, creating a romantic, dreamy glow that enhances the natural beauty our your surroundings. The golden light lends itself to my artistic style of storytelling and editing. In contrast, shooting during the middle hours of the day can be challenging, especially in locations with harsh sunlight like the beach. The strong overhead light can create harsh shadows, blown-out highlights, and other unflattering effects that are difficult to correct in post-processing.

This photo was taken around 1pm. Note the harsh shadows and high contrast in the photos. While this lighting worked well for this photo, posing during the photoshoot was difficult.

The soft, diffused light during golden hour is much easier to work with, allowing me to capture beautiful, natural-looking photos that are in line with my style of work. During my photoshoots, I like to focus on natural-light lifestyle photography, which means capturing candid moments and real-life interactions which is much easier when I'm not battling harsh lighting. During golden hour, the light is perfect for creating these types of images. I love the way the warm, golden glow adds an extra layer of emotion and connection to each photo, creating a truly special moment frozen in time.

Of course, shooting during golden hour isn't always possible, especially if you have a busy schedule or a specific location in mind. If you think that you might need to schedule a session at a different time of day, I'm always happy to discuss location options that are best suited for harsh light sessions.

So if you're thinking about booking a photoshoot with me, consider scheduling it during the golden hour. I promise you won't be disappointed with the results! And don't worry if you're not used to being in front of the camera – I'll guide you through the process and help you feel comfortable and confident every step of the way.

Thanks for reading, and I hope to see you soon during a golden hour photoshoot!

Love, Lillian Jean

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