What’s The Best Light for Taking Pictures?


As an outdoor photographer I have learned to work with all types of lighting - harsh sunny midday lighting, cloudy days and sunsets. I do have my favourite type of lighting and hands down that's golden hour. Golden what, I hear you say, well let me explain.

During 24hrs we experience the following types of lighting:

  • Astronomical twilight

  • Nautical twilight

  • Civil twilight

  • Blue hour (not what you think people, behave)!

  • Golden hour

For anyone whose photo I have taken, or suppliers who have been around me on a photo session, you will have heard me saying out loud things like “Oh my gawad you look amazing”! “Oh wow the lighting is just so beautiful, stay exactly where you are” “Oh my day’s I’m just so in love with this spot right now”!

When I am looking through my camera I am looking at where the light source is, how is it falling on your face, where is it creating shadows and how equal is it. Now believe it or not a cloudy day is actually the best day to take photos in, so all those of you getting married, from a photographer's point of view a cloudy day is a great one. Why? Because the clouds are acting as a diffuser and spreading the sun's light much more softly so you won’t get those harsh shadows, or squinty eyes.

So knowing what type of light im looking for and that I love golden hour let me tell you about each of them and as you will read golden hour is when the sun is at it’s softest.

Astronomical Twilight:

Morning and evening twilight is when it’s dark outside enough so that we can see the stars.

Nautical Twilight:

This is the time of day when you can start to see the horizon but we need lights on still to be able to see.

Civil Twilight:

This begins just before sunrise.

Blue Hour:

This is treasured by a lot of artists, it’s the time when each morning and evening twilight the sun is a significant distance below the horizon and giving off a blue hue.

Golden Hour:

This is the period just after sunrise or before sunset during which time the sky and is redder and softer compared when the sun is high in the sky.

So as you can see from above the best time of day is golden hour, which is why if at all possible for your family session with me I talk about what time of day you would like your session, where possible I love to work in golden hour. And for you wedding day I also check out what time golden hour will be on your day and advise that’s the time we do you together shots.

Hope you can use this is your own photographer and understand a little more about why I advice the golden hour slots for your sessions.

Love as always,

Becky x

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Creative, Romantic, Fun, documentary wedding Photographer & family/newborn portrait photographer, Lichfield, Staffordshire Based - Happy to travel the world!