What Is the Best Time for Outdoor Photography?

Because of the state's natural beauty, this Delaware family photographer spends a lot of time outside. You can't beat the beauty of Delaware beaches. Lots of families that are looking for beach family photography will ask what the best time for outdoor photography is. It's a great question, and one that ultimately comes down to personal preference.

But let's talk about your best options and what sets morning and evening sessions apart.

What Is Golden Hour? And What Time Is Golden Hour?

If you've talked with a photographer or photography enthusiast for any amount of time, they've probably mentioned golden hour.

But what is golden hour?

Golden hour refers to the period of time after a sunrise and before a sunset. At that time, the sun's rays are dispersed as golden beams of light, which gives your photography some gorgeous effects.

Delaware beach family photography
I took this photo at approximately 6:30pm. See the gorgeous golden beams in her hair?

Another beautiful thing about golden hour is you aren't dealing with harsh lighting that can throw one part of your face into shadow and the other part into overexposed brightness. And generally, you aren't staring directly into the sun when the photographer asks you to smile.

Is Golden Hour the Best Time to Shoot?

So now you know what golden hour is. That's the best time to shoot, right?

In theory? Yes. In practice?

No. Not if you're a Delaware family photographer.

Because for better or worse, Delaware family photography includes people. And no amount of dreamy sunshine can make you (or your kids) a morning person. Also, getting everyone together at prime dinner time to go take photos isn't the best, either.

You have to consider the logistics of your vacation, not just when the lighting will look best.

So as a photographer in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, here are my official recommendations on times to schedule your family photography.

For the Early Risers

Best Time for a Photo Session in the Morning: Starting between 8:00am and 9:00am

While I am not a morning person myself, I certainly respect people that are. And if your two year old is a morning person, then that's when we're taking photos.

Some kids really thrive in the morning. And if they're young enough, maybe they'll be too sleepy to be agitated by some stranger singing "Baby Shark" at them at 8:00am. If you're the type of family that likes to get up and get going, this time range will work well for you.

beach family photography
I took this photo at around 8:15am.

Another nice thing about morning photography? You're going to have really even lighting. No squinting, no overly dramatic sunbeams. Mornings can give you a really nice canvas to get some amazing photos.

For People Who Work Better in the Evenings

Best Time for Outdoor Portrait Photography in the Evening: 6:00pm

I live for outdoor portrait photography in the evenings. You get the opportunity to take some really magical photos at that time. If your kids hit their stride later in the day, then the evening will work best for them as well.

Plus. you can bribe them with "if you behave, we'll get ice cream after this!" and that always works, every time.

photographer lewes delaware beach family photography
I took this photo around 6:00pm.

The Best Time for Outdoor for Photography is Different for Every Family

At the end (or the beginning) of the day, the best time for outdoor photography is whenever your family feels most comfortable and confident. You want everyone, from the littlest one who needs naptime, to the oldest one who wants to be home at a certain time, to feel their best. If there's one thing I learned as a Delaware family photographer, it's that every family is different, and it's completely up to you when you feel you'll all be your best selves. The best time for photography depends on everything from naptimes to scheduling to sunlight and availability. So when you're picking your session, think about your family in particular and what will make everyone happy and look their best.