Location and background are very important but LIGHTING is EVERYTHING!
AND natural lighting is dependent on time of day.
Below are examples of different lighting scenarios to give you a better idea of what I mean. There are no right or wrong answers because everyone has a different style and lighting is what you make of it. Just keep it in mind when planning for your wedding or photo session.
Middle of the day, full sun, with no shade can create harsh shadows which can either be unflattering or edgy.
To avoid harsh contrast I normally avoid scheduling portrait sessions in wide open (low shade) locations from 10 am – 4 pm and instead plan sessions in heavily shaded areas.
Timing really is everything, while some days don’t even have golden hour (overcast/hazy) other days allow for spectacular portrait potential with careful planning and a little bit of luck. Because of the dramatic lighting and warm tones, golden hour is one of the most sought out times for photo sessions.
To get this lighting I recommend to start taking photos roughly an hour before sunset and 15 minutes before sunrise. You will need to keep track of the weather!
The times surrounding Golden Hour when the sun is beneath the horizon.
It gets its name “Blue Hour” because the world takes on a blue hue right before and after the sun peaks over the horizon. It can create some truly magical moments and can either be a great start to your morning or a wonderful way to end your evening.
To capture this lighting I recommend shooting 15-30 minutes after sunset and before sunrise.
Sometimes, an overcast day is simply unavoidable. The beautiful thing about overcast is that it will create soft, even tones that can be very flattering. However, if there isn’t enough light (i.e. heavily shaded areas) it can dull colors so location is key to get the best photos.
Normally when a photo session falls on an overcast day I tend to stick to more open unshaded areas to allow for as much light as possible.