For outside pictures the direction of the light at the time of day you take them determines how good the pictures will turn out. Of course the weather conditions will also be a factor. People like lots of sunshine but there is a problem. Direct overhead sun creates what is none as racoon eyes when photographing people!
Stay many hours away from High Noon when taking people pictures outside on a sunny day!
In addition to the dark eye shadows, the shiny spot on my head from the direct sunlight does not look good. Also people tend to squint when the sun is in front of them.
The longest day of the year is June 21st. Today is July 2nd, and Sunrise is at 6:12 AM and Sunset is at 9:07 PM. Some photographers like taking pictures at the golden hour times. Today the golden hours are 6:12-7:15 AM and again at 8:04-9:07 PM. Photographers that use only natural light like to stay closer to these times.
For myself, I use light modifiers, which allow me to not have to do pictures so early or late which is a benefit to my clients. Here is my personal recommendation:
Best times for this time of year are around 9 AM and 7PM to begin taking people photos
The location determines which time to use?
Having the sun low in the sky and behind my subjects as I photograph them is best done early in the morning or late in the evening. And this also determines the location. In the example diagram above, the time of day determines whether I'd use the East or West side of the house for a backdrop. For 9 AM Portraits I stand people on the West side of the house. This keeps the sun behind them. And for 7 PM Portraits I stand people on the East side of the house.
I like to do a "GO SEE" before deciding on the location and time
I typically do a "GO SEE" before deciding on a good location for photos. As I can then determine where the sun will be and how the background will look. It does not matter if a house, field, or wooded area are used for a backdrop, the concept is still the same.
Note: The Best Times for taking Outside Photographs change with the Seasons. Mostly the Evening time changes to an earlier time. October 1 it changes to 6 PM and November 1 it changes to 5:30 PM (4:30 PM after Daylight Savings time kicks in). And on December 1 the Best time becomes 4 PM.
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