When arranging time to set up an outdoor photo shoot people always tend to suggest a day that’s calling for sun. Of course you want sunshine and a nice day for your photos. The key is making sure you schedule the right time to make the sun work for you.
You may or may not have heard of what is called the golden hour. This occurs twice a day, at sunrise and sunset. The sun is low and not as harsh. Despite being called “golden hour”, this can last longer than an hour depending on the time of year and where you are located. The warm colors this time of day are flattering and the shadows are soft.
The draw back of trying to shoot during the golden hour is not everyone can accommodate that time of day. You can shoot for the the few hours after sunrise or before sunset. The sun will still be low and warm.
If you still can’t swing setting up your shoot in the morning or evening hours , and have to shoot midday, you can still make it work. You just need to make sure you are aware of your limitations, especially if you are working with kids. No one likes the sun in their eyes and kids definitely won’t be shy about it!
Make sure your location has areas that are shaded. You can place your subjects in the shade to avoid the harsh shadows on their face. Just make sure if you are under a tree that there are no breaks in the branches or you will have harsh shadows in your images. You can also make the shadows work for you. Put a spin on the maternity photo the heart hands and use the sun to cast a shadow of dad’s hands on mom’s baby belly. Take images of a mom and child’s shadows holding hands.
If the day comes for your shoot and you find that it’s calling for rain or the sky is overcast, you can still make it work for you, if you subject is up for it. When it is overcast you won’t have to worry about harsh shadows and the sun being in anyone’s face. However, if the sky is flat and drab you are going to want to try to avoid getting too much of the sky in your photos.
Dealing with possible rain during your shoot? Planning a shoot with a couple? Grab an umbrella and get a shot of them kissing in the rain. Shooting kids in the rain or after a storm? Ask them to bring their rain-boots and get shots of them playing in the puddles.
No matter the time of day or the weather, you can always make it work. If you subject is up for it, be creative and use your imagination. Some of my favorite images are the ones I never intended to take. You might feel bummed if the day for your shoot comes and there is rain, but you could end up with unique images that you’ll cherish forever. The great thing about photography is you can always try again!