When it comes to photography, lighting is everything! It can take your picture over-the-top to totally frame-worthy or break your perfectly composed and beautiful shot. So, how do you get that perfectly lit picture? Natural Light!
Different times of day and weather conditions can produce dramatically different results. So, here’s your guide to when and where to snap!
The Golden Hour
The Golden Hour, approximately an hour before sunset and an hour after sunrise, is considered the best time for photography, particularly portrait (or selfie) photography. At this time, the sun creates a warm and soft light that is flattering to skin tones without casting harsh shadows or bright spots.
Especially when snapping a portrait or selfie, bright light can cast harsh directional shadows, wash out the color, and cause squinting. Moving into the shade while near a light source allows you to benefit from the natural light around you while letting the subject to glow in the soft, even lighting.
While it isn’t recommended to snap pictures under direct sunlight, if used carefully the light can be directed for a bold, artistic look. Controlling the direction of the light can create different looks. For example, having the light directly behind the subject (at sunset) can create a silhouette, while having the light slight slightly behind the subject can backlight the subject, causing it to stand out with the sun shining around.
Also, in bright lighting, movement can be better captured in action photos. Phone cameras use a faster shutter speed in bright lights that helps stop motion.
The Blue Hour
The opposite of the Golden Hour, at the Blue Hour (approximately 30-60 minutes before the sunrise and after sunset) the sky ranges in shades of blue. The light is soft enough to emphasize most of the scene while not needing an additional light source. This time of day is especially great for cityscapes because the yellow glow from artificial lights in the windows contrasts with the blue sky.
The Blue Hour is usually darker, which can cause phone pictures to become grainy, however using a tripod or stand can help keep the camera still and minimize blurring.
The most beautiful photos can come from not-so-beautiful days. Cloudy or rainy days and overcast skies diffuse the sun’s light for an even, soft light. This lighting enhances rich colors while eliminating the possibility of harsh shadows and washed out photos.
Each time of day and type of lighting can create a unique image. So when the perfect photo opportunity comes, use the lighting and snap some well-lit, totally frame-worthy pictures!