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Back to Blogs When Is The Best Time to Take Photos Outside? - Aerial Innovations Southeast

When Is the Best Time to Take Photos?

The best time to take photos is contingent on what you want to accomplish. You cannot fix photography between one moment and another. Therefore, it is essential to utilize peak times of the day to capture high-quality images. Here are a few of the best times of day to take photos outside. 

Golden Hour

Golden hour is the moment before sunset and shortly after sunrise. It is the best time for photography since the sun is low in the sky, shining a soft and flattering natural light. Golden hour suits portrait shooting best because it creates a warm reddish hue.

Photos taken at golden hour allow shadows on landscapes to look soft and diffused. It does not require extra equipment or effort, and the warm light is hugely favorable. Golden hour lends superb outdoor lighting for landscape photography if you are trying to capture the warm hue. However, some challenges you may encounter during golden hour include:

  • Lighting conditions change quickly.
  • Vibrant colors in the background might not complement the landscape.

A good solution is to shoot slightly before the sun starts to rise or set before changes in lighting occur. The low sun is still the best moment to capture outdoor photos if the intention is to create a soft glow. Softer light helps create this glow. 

Mid-Morning and Afternoon

Mid-morning and afternoon is the best time for photos that do not require shadows or a soft glow. However, it is best to avoid bright high noon sunshine. Harsh shadows will not appear, and the photos will look unflattering when the bright sun is not directly above the landscape. Before or after high noon, a shoot flatters many landscapes since the light is yellow, unlike reddish or orange hues from golden hour lighting.

A white or silver reflector helps reduce the yellow when desired, and a gold reflection helps warm the landscape. Mid-morning or afternoon light is the best time to take pictures outside since the light is adequate and even. A photographer who is not a pro in manual camera settings can still achieve clear, nicely lit images using the auto setting.

When Is High Noon the Best Time to Take Photos?

High noon sunlight favors urban landscape photography by creating harsh shadows that add a dramatic look. Noon is also the best time to capture crystal-clear shots of bodies of water. You can use a reflector or find a reflective surface nearby if high noon catches up during portrait photography. Light-colored walls, tables, or sand on a beach help spread the lighting around the landscape. The shadowy area is the most favorable section to position the landscape you are trying to capture.

Blue Hour (right after sunset, just before sunrise)

Even though the sun is behind the horizon, it is the best time to take photos because it produces ambient light. Images shot at this hour will capture a bluish tone. Blue hour lighting gives photos a sense of stillness and peace, especially during the morning when outdoor scenes are deserted. Winter scene photos suit this moment as they capture greater detail. A location with lights reflecting on the water, such as a lakeside, creates a flattering landscape.

Blue hour photography makes cityscapes come out well because artificial lights illuminating a city produce a yellow hue. The contrast between urban yellow lights and ambient blue creates a photogenic contrast. Blue hour is exceptionally brief, so it requires you to shoot quickly. Apps such as PhotoPills can help plan, informing users of the rising and setting times for the sun and moon.


Images photographed at night showcase details that people might not see during daytime lighting. You can capture photos at high-traffic and illuminating areas better because there is less interruption. It helps if you are comfortable with adjusting the camera’s manual settings. Shoot RAW to maintain all color data, the tone in highlight, and shadow detail. Take another shoot in JPEG f as it allows additional sharpening of color saturation, contrast, and tweaks that create a refined image. It is important to note that once this is done, you cannot reverse the changes.

Drone Photography Tips

Drone photography relies heavily on the capacity of the drone, mastery of exposure bracketing, symmetry, contrast texture, and lighting. The peak time to maximize natural light is to shoot around golden hour. The light is warmer, softer, and lends a unique glow to the landscape. Drone photography tips suggest taking photos 30-60 minutes before sunset or after sunrise for the best results. The sun is still low but high enough to light up the entire scene by illuminating the landscape.

Aerial Photography Tips

Aerial photography relies heavily on natural light, so the intensity and direction of the sun are essential. Golden hour allows you to capture excellent aerial photos. Sunlight during this time is often softer and more spread. Softer light reduces contrast and shadow length to accentuate details on the ground. It also adds depth to an image. Aerial photography tips reveal that clouds create crystalline skies and increase clarity in the photos. The most precise moment is soon after it rains since gray skies make a dramatic background while colors and textures are richer.

Aerial and Drone Photography Services

Our Aerial Innovations Southeast team of professional photographers possess expertise and years of experience in aerial and drone photography. Get in touch with us today to learn more about how we can help meet all of your photography needs.     


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