By now, you would have been tired of the rule of photography – to worship light. That is, if you are into serious photography. Yet, light is what guides the photography, and there’s no photography without light. Outdoor photography depends on one basic constituent – natural light. You can add external lights, but the basic ambiance is set by the natural light – in most cases the sunlight.
The Thumb Rule: Sunset, Sunrise, and the Golden Hour
Photographers, be it portrait photographers or landscape photographers, follow a simple thumb rule. The sunrise, sunset, an hour after sunrise, and an hour before sunset; are the best times for photography. They provide a beautiful hue and a soft light that is unmatched and can simply not be reproduced.
Landscape Photographers: The Sunrise and the Sunset Conundrum
There happens to be a mention of sunrise and sunset being the best times for photographing landscapes. Yet, the sunrises and sunsets are modern day clichés which are often looked upon badly by the photographers. They are the most overshot subjects in landscape photography, yet they continue to find an audience in photographers who regularly click them and the art lovers who continue to devour them.
The simple truth is the light at the sunrise and sunset makes the landscape stand out. Whether or not you include the sun in the frame with its varying hues at varying heights, the time of the day is ideal for shooting landscapes.
Apart from the sunrise and sunset, the cloudy days provide an amazing drama to landscapes. In fact, most great landscape photographers run after witnessing dramatic clouds. They complete the frame and add elements to play with, also providing dynamism to the image. Remember the classic Windows wallpaper? Imagine them without the clouds, and you will know the importance.
Portrait Photography: Mixing Outdoor and Speedlights
Outdoor portrait photography provides us with elements to play with, and create interesting compositions with wide lenses. Even pre-wedding, baby pictures, etc, provide us with a unique set of opportunities to utilize our environment to create amazing portraits. Using the light around the sunset and sunrise time, and the golden hours, makes our portraits stand out because the light is so pleasant.
Additionally, we could use a speedlight to expose the subject while using the background landscape and its exposure. This provides for the most eye-pleasing portraits, and when coupled with meaningful compositions, can take portraits to another level.
What Happens at Noon?
Noon is the time when the sun is overhead. The light falls directly below, making some really bad and harsh shadows, and giving an overall light that isn’t correct to expose either landscapes or portraits. Perhaps one genre of photography that gains from a noon light or high contrast and shadow light is architecture photography. The harsh light and sharp shadows help create the shape and form of the monuments or architecture and provide an ideal way to give the three-dimensional structure its correct look.