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The Best Time of Day To Take Photos

the best time of day to take photos featured image

What is the best time of day to take photos? I say anytime of the day, and I’ll tell you why if you stick around.

image of a man wearing a hoody, facing the camera, taking a photo

My name is Barry Callister. I am a Nature Photographer from the Mid-North Coast of New South Wales in Australia. If I have learnt one thing in my time as a photographer, it’s that nature doesn’t wait.

Nature doesn’t stop, so why should you sit around for hours, waiting for the perfect light?

The Magic of Golden Hour

You may have heard photographers talking about Golden Hour? But, what is this? Is it some mystical witching-hour, where every single photo you take will turn out brilliantly and be looked upon and revered for centuries?

the best time of the day to take photos - image of a woman sitting between pumpkins and candles,  holding a skull
Conjure up some great photos during Golden Hour!

Of course not?!

Golden hour is the hour after sunrise, and the hour before sunset. It’s called golden hour because at that time of day, there is a beautiful golden glow to everything. Shadows are long and dark, and pretty much everything you photograph looks amazing.

I agree that a lot of really brilliant photos have been taken during golden hour. There is just something special about them. The colours are rich and vibrant, and the photo has more impact and interest.

However, does this mean that you should only take photos during these times of the day?

The Best Time of Day To Take Photos

The best time of day to take photos is not just during golden hour. Especially if you are a beginner.

It’s true that the higher the Sun gets in the sky, the more washed-out colours become, the shorter shadows get, and the more highlights become blown-out.

This however is not to say that you can’t get a decent photo during these times. If you only get your camera out during golden hour, you are wasting so many opportunities for great shots.

Woolgoolga Beach in New South Wales, Australia

The best thing to do when you’re learning photography is to do a lot of it. So use the time that you have and just get out there.

What To Photograph During Midday Sun

Obviously, beach scenes are great to capture when the sun is high in the sky. Most of our memories of the beach are on a bright, sunny day.

A Kookaburra swooping down to catch a meal

Something that also requires bright sunlight is capturing birds in flight. You need fast shutter speeds to freeze birds in mid-air, so the bright sun of midday can help you to achieve that.

If you are taking portraits, find some shade where you can have the subject out of the sun all-together or in dappled light. Sunlight filtering through a forest canopy, or the leaves of a palm tree can look really effective.

Remember to use your lens hood during the brighter times of the day too. This will prevent sun-flare in your images. If you are trying to introduce some flare, then leave the hood off. However, a lot of decent photos can be ruined by uninvited sun-flare, so the hood is a good idea.

The Best Time of Day to Take Photos Is………?

When you have your camera in your hands!

So in conclusion, just get out there and take photos as much as you can. Don’t get up early in the morning, take a few fabulous sunrise shots and then climb back into bed until sunset. Stay out all day and practice shooting in bright sunlight.

The photos you get will be satisfying, and skill that you learn will be invaluable.

How do we get good at something? By doing it an awful lot!? Grab your camera and get out there.

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For more hints on Landscape Photography, read my 5 Landscape Photography Tips blog post.

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