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Hey there, fabulous seniors (and parents)! As you gear up for your senior photo session, one of the biggest questions you might have is: when is the best time to schedule your senior photo session? Should you brave the blazing midday sun, or wait for the dreamy, golden hues just before sunset? Today, we’re diving into the pros and cons of shooting your senior photo session during the middle of the day versus the magical golden hour.

High Noon: The Bold and the Bright

Pros:

  1. Vibrant Colors: Shooting under the midday sun can result in incredibly vibrant colors. If you’re looking for bold, popping hues in your photos, high noon might be the perfect time for you.
  2. Sharp, Crisp Photos: The intense light of midday sun ensures sharp, clear images with high contrast. Your photos will have a clean, crisp look that stands out.
  3. Availability: Scheduling your session during the day can be more convenient. You have more daylight hours to work with, making it easier to fit into a busy schedule. Also, fewer people choose this option, so finding a time slot will be much easier.

Cons:

  1. Harsh Shadows: The overhead sun creates strong shadows, which can be unflattering. Be prepared for squinting and uneven lighting on your face.
  2. Heat: If you’re shooting in the summer, the midday heat can be intense. You might find yourself sweating through your outfit, and your makeup might not hold up as well.
  3. Flat Lighting: While the light is abundant, it’s also very direct. This can result in flat lighting, lacking the soft, dimensional quality that many people love in photos.

Golden Hour: The Dreamy and Romantic

Pros:

  1. Soft, Warm Light: Golden hour, which occurs an hour or two before sunset, bathes everything in a soft, warm glow. This flattering light adds a beautiful, dreamy quality to your photos.
  2. No Harsh Shadows: The low angle of the sun during golden hour means shadows are long and soft, creating a gentle, natural look. It’s the perfect time for portraits that highlight your best features.
  3. Cooler Temperatures: Especially in the warmer months, shooting during golden hour means cooler, more comfortable conditions. You’ll feel more relaxed, and your makeup and outfit will stay fresh longer.

Cons:

  1. Limited Time: Golden hour is short, so you’ll need to work quickly. There’s a limited window to capture the perfect shots, which can be a bit stressful.
  2. Less Vibrant Colors: The soft light of golden hour can mute colors a bit. While this can be beautiful and ethereal, it’s not ideal if you’re looking for bold, bright images.
  3. Scheduling Conflicts: Coordinating a shoot during the evening can be tricky. You might have to navigate around school, sports, and other commitments.

So, Which One is Right for You?

Ultimately, the best time for your senior session depends on your personal style and preferences. If you love vibrant, high-contrast photos and can handle a bit of heat, midday might be your best bet. On the other hand, if you’re drawn to soft, romantic light and want a more comfortable shooting experience, golden hour is the way to go.

Most of the senior sessions I shoot are in the evenings near golden hour. Occasionally, I get seniors that like a morning session too. In fact, the time slots that are offered on my website are either early morning or evening times. However, if you’d like to try a midday time, just email me at [email protected].

Since the majority of people are not available in the middle of the day, I don’t even offer those times on my site. But I am available during that time, so if you’d like to try that, just reach out and let’s set something up. But if you set something up for one of these summer days, be sure to bring some water. It’s hot out there!

This two pictures above will give you a good idea of day time v. golden hour. The picture on the left was taken at about 1:30 pm. The picture on the right was taken the same day at the same park at about 7:30 pm. See the difference?

Don’t stress about this decision, because there’s no right or wrong choice here. It’s all about what feels right for you and the look you’re going for in your senior photos. Whatever you choose, make sure to have fun, be yourself, and enjoy the experience. After all, these photos are all about celebrating you and this incredible milestone in your life.

Happy shooting, seniors! And remember…my summer schedule is very flexible. Just email me your needs and we can set something up. You can read all about the packages we offer over on my website at Paula Mason Photography. Let me know how we can help you. Looking forward to meeting you all!

Until next time…


Paula Mason, a seasoned photographer in Allen and McKinney, Texas, captures the essence of senior year with stunning indoor and outdoor photo sessions. Whether you choose the bold midday light or the dreamy golden hour, Paula ensures your photos reflect your unique personality and style.

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