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A Lesson in Light || Why Photographers Hate 11am-2pm

Every time I schedule a session, one of the first things we discuss is time. Of course, there’s the inevitable who/what/where discussion as well, but since I am a natural light photographer (meaning I hate flash, basically), the time of day is probably the most important thing to nail down. The best times of day are the morning after the sun comes up, and the evening before the sun goes down. Any good photographer knows that to schedule an outside session between 11am-2pm is just awful, but usually my clients have no idea! So…why? Well, here are some examples below from my Christmas Mini Sessions. I took them all on the same morning, back to back (which, by the way, I am doing again for Easter, and I have one spot left!) The first, second, third and fourth images were taken from 7:30am-9:30am. The last three were taken before 11am, but just barely. Now, I love all of them, and I think most people won’t notice the differences until I point them out, but there are things that make the top four images stronger. Keep in mind that none of these were taken during the horror hours, so none of them are bad, just some of them are better because they chose the earlier time slots.

Did you catch the differences? In the first four images, the strongest being the first, taken around 7:30am, the light is low in the sky, and quite bright. It casts a hazy morning glow, that lays on the side of the faces so naturally, and gives great contrast, without blowing out important details or creating shadows in weird places or patterns. Later in the day (though it would have been much much worse had they been too much later), the sun is almost directly overhead, and even using a diffuser (which we did, to soften the light), parts of the images are blown out (photo-speak for way too bright and losing detail), speckled with shadows, or in shadow completely (like under the brim of his hat). Had I not been using a diffuser, the difference would have been astounding. Maybe I’ll do that during my mini sessions next Saturday and show you 🙂 That’s why I always recommend earlier light. It’s soft and pretty, creates that hazy look, and doesn’t create too much contrast and shadows. It’s gorgeous!

So do you see? Can you tell a difference? Which photo do you like best for the light?

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