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When to Take Engagement Photos?

Engagement Photos taken during natural light can be tricky at times. No doubt you can get some of the best shots in good old sunlight, but for the most part of the day, the light can be rather harsh. As an Wedding Photographer, a lot of my clients want some of their pictures taken outdoors. Sometimes, we have to plan a photo shoot on a day other than the wedding so that we get the perfect light settings. So, when exactly is the best time for natural light photography?

engagement photo boy and girl sitting on bench

The secret to shooting in natural light

As a general rule, I would say an hour after sunrise or an hour before sunset are the best times of the day for natural light photo shoots. These times give a good balance between being bright enough and yet not so bright that there is an overpowering glare. The long shadows and softer light are especially good for portrait photography, and I personally have got some great shots at these times.

When I shoot at these two times of the day, I find that colors are a lot more enhanced, and I can get my subjects to vividly contrast with the background. Shooting when the sun is higher in the sky doesn’t work too well because when the natural light is too bright, everything else looks dull in comparison. The vibrancy of colors is lost, and everything looks a bit subdued. Shadows too are a lot darker, taking shots in the shade doesn’t always work well. Part of shooting great daylight pictures is timing them to perfection.

Another good time for natural light photography is on a cloudy day. As long as we’re sure there’s not going to be any rain, we can safely plan an outdoor shoot on a cloudy day. The soft lighting effect we get from sunlight being diffused through the clouds has a very nice effect. The only thing that’s not great to shoot on a cloudy day is the sky itself, unless, of course, you are going for the somber gray effect.

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Having shot weddings, engagements, models, and portrait sessions outdoor for quite some time now, I can instinctively tell what time of the day will be the best to plan to shoot at different times of the years.  Once I have a clear idea of what my clients, I am better able to guide them on when to plan the shoot.