There are a lot of rules when it comes to photography that we are supposed to follow like the rule of thirds, don’t have the horizon in the middle of the picture, leading lines and foreground interest. I like to think of these as more like guidelines because of course all rules are meant to be broken. The one thing as a beginner photographer that I was shocked about was the time of day that you should take your photos. I always thought the best time was in the middle of the day, bright sunshine, clear skies etc but this is actually the opposite of what you want. In the middle of the day the sun is at its highest point in the sky and the light that it casts is the harshest of all light. This leads to hard shadows, and too much contrast.
The best time of day is actually just after the sun rises or an hour before sunset. This is when you get the most beautiful soft light. If you are a landscape photographer trying to capture the amazing colours that the sky throws, you will need to get to your destination about an hour before sunrise or sunset to be ready to capture the colours. Unfortunately you aren’t always guaranteed to see them.
A cloudy day can also give some nice soft light to your pictures. A cloudy day with rain a few hours before sunset can almost always guarantee a beautiful sunset but don’t hold me to that because I have been proven wrong by that before! If the cloud breaks over the horizon then you can generally assume that the sky should turn some nice shades of pink, orange or purple like the picture below:
So next time you are outdoors with your camera try to think about the light that you are seeing and think about the time of the day. It can be the difference between an Ok photo and a really good one!
Did you enjoy this article? Did my number one rule of photography surprise you? If so, I would love to hear your thoughts, so leave a comment below!