This is the number one question our clients ask us and we are always so glad when they consider timeliness!
Planning for ideal photos is really quite simple!
For sessions, most photographers want to shoot within what is known as Golden Hour. This is the last, most gorgeous hour of light before sunset that provides usually idealistic shooting conditions. This is not only good for us creatively, but also makes for the most flattering light to ensure you look your best! To check the ideal window for my clients, I simply Google the date of the session and sunset time (ex: 1/1/18 sunset time) then subtract accordingly based on how long my session is.
For locations with tree cover, you’ll want to shoot earlier than golden hour as trees and shade can diffuse light much quicker. I generally recommend about 2.5 hours before sunset for any sessions I know we’ll start in the forest. Personally speaking, this works great for my clients in Big Sur because we can begin in the forest and get the best light, then travel to a beautiful beach to capture golden hour on the coast. Almost every one of my top personal favorite sessions had that combination of scenarios and it’s just fool proof!
Many of our couples planning engagements ask us when the best time of year to shoot is. This really depends on where you’re located, so asking your photographer is a the best way to really know. However, we always try to recommend if our clients want summer engagement photos, to plan them for a weekday. This way, a photographer is far more likely to have availability during their busy wedding season.
Scheduling your wedding day to assist in the photography is also a great topic. Many of our brides who haven’t hired a wedding planner contact us for advice on how their wedding day schedule should be broken down in terms of best conditions for photography. You’ll want to begin by Googling your wedding date and sunset time, then working backwards from there. Factor in your location (indoors, outdoors in the shade/in direct sun, etc.) each lighting condition plays and important role in when your timeline will provide ideal photos. The standard wedding timeline for us generally about an hour before sunset for outdoor ceremonies, with bridal portraits immediately following. Or for indoor ceremonies, they begin about 2+ hours before sunset, and allow for at least 30 minutes of bridal portraits within the hour before sunset.
Cocktail hour is a best time to have your immediate family photos. Depending on your family size, most professional photographers can have them done within 20 minutes or so, allowing everyone to resume the festivities. If cocktail hour is lined up with Golden Hour, it’s a perfect time for bridal photos before the couple joins everyone for dinner.
If you have any more questions, be sure to comment below so we can assist you!