You want me at the session at what time??

I’m sure that that’s the first reaction people get when they see my time suggestions: I will always suggest early morning, just as the sun rises; or late afternoon, as the sun is getting ready to set.

What a pain, right? I mean midday is just so much easier for all concerned, right?!

I’m going to ask that you trust the process okay? That morning light that just bathes you in the softest glow or that late afternoon light that warms you up and makes magic in your photos… it is so worth it!

Take a look at these images:

Early morning light

Morning Light - Stacy van Zyl Photography

This one was taken as the sun was rising – just look at how beautifully soft and glowy everything is! (Yes, glowy is a word, it’s my word!) My only regret about this image is the fact that I didn’t get my son to change into something else before we went for our walk! This was shot at 08:00am on a chilly winter’s morning.

Late afternoon light

Here we have a late afternoon beauty, with all the yummy golden tones that have you dreaming of lazy summer holidays:

Liebenberg Matric Dance 27092019 A035 - Stacy van Zyl Photography

This one was shot at around 5pm, on a sunny spring afternoon.

Overcast light

I also love shooting on overcast days, a bonus of these days is that the time of the shoot doesn’t matter as much. The clouds diffuse the light perfectly. Here are a few examples of images shot on overcast days:

Overcast late afternoon.

Overcast late morning.

The light from about 10 am to 3pm is the most harsh, as the sun is very high in the sky. If that’s the look that you’re going for, then it’s awesome. But if you’re looking for the softer lit images then early morning/late afternoon (or an overcast day or location with lots of shade) will be your best bet.

Here are some examples of harsher light:

Late morning on a mid-summer’s super bright day – the contrast is a lot higher.

Mid afternoon on another super bright summer’s day.

I hope that this helped answer some of your questions on why photographers have a favourite time of day to shoot, as well as how the different lighting situations can influence your final images.

Still have questions? Comment below or pop me an email and I’ll be sure to answer it!

Chat soon,

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