why hiring a photographer that knows light matters…Houston Family Photographer

Why does it matter what time the session is?  Why is it important to look at a photographers blog to make sure they understand light?  Honestly my knee jerk reaction is “because”.  But that doesn’t help at all.  I only schedule sessions in the evening, not in the morning, not at 10 AM, not at 3PM (ok maybe in the winter…daylight savings time is tricky), not until the sun is warm.  Photographers know what I mean but you honestly probably don’t know.

There are a ton of photographers out there to choose from and looking at the price shouldn’t be the only reason you decide to hire a professional.  Understanding light is the so important, why?  Because it makes a huge difference in your images.   A field at 2PM will not give good images unless it is cloudy (which I refer to as natures soft box).  There will be crazy hyper color grass, the sides of your face will be white, the shadows under your eyes will make you look like racoons.  Doesn’t that sound awesome and TOTALLY worth your time and money?

Nope.

Here in Texas we have bluebonnets and wildflowers, I love them…LOVE them.  It is sort of a Texas Tradition to have pictures of your kids in a field of bluebonnet but guess what?  They grow mostly in WIDE OPEN FIELDS.  Sooooo that means some photographers will put clients in a field at high noon, HIGH NOON or in my case 5PM!  Want to see how awful it looks?

time for photosession

Here is the edited images:

why light matters blog

Isn’t the difference amazing?  I have apps on my phone that I bring out everytime I find a new location for sessions, Golden Hour is my favorite.  It tells me where the sunsets and what time, so honestly there is no reason for the the first image to ever happen to anyone…ever.  And guess what that image of my kids (yes those are my not happy at all and hungry children) isn’t even that great!  Guess what THIS is what happened when I turned the chair to the left.

MAGIC!

houston family photographer

Need another example?  Same spot different time.  But it isn’t just knowing the right time it also knowing how to “Find the light” here and here.

the woodlands photographer

When I took the before pictures my son even said “why are we doing them now isn’t it the wrong time?”.  Oh yes I taught him well.  I hope this helps when choosing a photographer, if you aren’t in my area or even if it isn’t me.  Sometimes unless you see the difference you don’t really know the difference.

Jenny Miller is Newborn, Family and Child Photographer serving Houston, TX , The Woodlands, Spring, Tomball, Magnolia and North Houston.

 

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  • Great information girl! And presented in an easy to understand and accessible way. Thank you for educating the public and other photogs!

  • Esteffanie

    Great article!! One crucial question….. what’s the name of that fabulous app you have!? The ones that lets you know where and when sun sets!! Thanks!

  • Thanks for the wonderful article! Sharing:)

  • Two words. . .

    MOST EXCELLENT…!

    Wide-open spaces; I get it…
    not so much for shady spots perhaps…

    Botanical gardens and such with large expanses of shadow and shade…? Bright high-noon light can be used to accent and dramatize an otherwise drab photo session, no?

    Used properly, of course… (wink)

    I love your approach to sharing… one topic…
    a few examples to make your points…
    and no geek-speak; plain talk all around…

    (grin)

  • Roxanne

    Yes! Spot-on! I am a photographer myself and I pride myself on finding areas to shoot that offer the best and softest light. All too often I see the top image on others’ pages and cringe. I love cloudy days, big shady buildings, and shooting in wooded areas. I have even had parents of seniors hold up my big, thick blanket to block direct sun for certain shots.

  • Great article! I always get frustrated when clients are mad at me because I won’t shoot before 6pm!

  • Thank you! I’ve been thinking about changing what times I offer, and now I know that it is definitely worth changing my times.

  • Shannon

    This is so true! I shoot at odd hours as well, but only shoot in shade. Never in the direct sunlight!

  • Rayanna Tremblay

    Shouldn’t a great photographer be able to take great images no matter what the lighting situation? To me saying that you can only take great photos in the golden hour is like saying you can only take great photos with a $5000.00 camera. Isn’t it the skill of the photographer that makes a huge difference in this as well? Yes the golden hour is the prefered time to shoot, but doesn’t always work with the needs of the customers.

  • Benji

    I am farely new into the photography world & have never really sat back an thought about this until just now. Thank you so much for the advice!! It’s photographers like you that I am soooooo thankful for!!! :))

  • Alex

    The only problem I have with this article is that a good photographer knows how to use light NO MATTER WHAT TIME IT IS. the “golden hour” and great photos aren’t inherently related.
    Translucent reflectors are a great tool at reducing the harsh sun as well.

  • Have you share this! Thanks for writing this!

  • Have to*** share this!

  • buffy

    A good photographer can take awesome photos at golden hour.

    A great photographer can take awesome photos at any time and in any lighting situation.

    Why limit yourself?

  • Crissy

    You didn’t mention which apps you liked to use.

    And agree a photographer that knows the craft knows reflectors make a big difference… sometimes avail light no matter the time just gets to work for what it is

  • I very much agree about being particular about the times you shoot. It’s part of quality control. Sure there may be times you have to compromise and shoot midday, but when you’ve got clients paying hundred of dollars for beautiful images, you owe it to them and yourself to use your very bet judgement and all your skills (including knowing the best light for ideal exposures, color, etc) to create work worth the top dollar they’re paying. LOTS of photographers limit their shooting times to the most flattering light. It’s smart and will pay off with images that stand out from the crowd of mediocre photographers’ work. GREAT article.

  • Jennifer Wolff

    Thank you for this post. I am going to share this post with clients. I have told this to my clients before but it seems like they don’t believe me. Hearing this from another professional may help them to understand. I have a miffed client at the moment as she wants the grassy field shot but at 4:00 because of bedtime at 7. Meeting at 6:00 would disrupt their nightly routine. Yes, it will, but if this is what she wants she cannot have it both ways. Part of our expertise as photographers is not just knowing how to use a fancy camera, but how to read the sunlight. We could shoot in full sun in the middle of the day. We could shoot in the shade of a tree. I can technically nail those shots but it’s not how I want to represent my work as a photographer. If my client cannot shoot during the golden hour for the time of year. I tell them a studio session is what we need to schedule. Otherwise I just won’t do it.

  • […] photographer Jenny Miller out of Houston, TX and wanted to share it. You can find the whole post here, but I will summarize some of it for you. I am a natural light photographer which means that 99.9% […]

  • […] photographer Jenny Miller out of Houston, TX and wanted to share it. You can find the whole post here, but I will summarize some of it for you. I am a natural light photographer which means that 99.9% […]

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