Why do photographers love a good sunrise or sunset moment? There are many reasons including lighting, stylistic options, and evenness of tones. Shadows are often better during a sunrise or sunset and placement of subjects (aka you, the client) can create glowing interest with rays of sunbeams in the background. In this post we’ll break down the difference between a sunrise and sunset session and why you should care.
What is the golden hour?
Before we talk about the pros and cons of sunrise and sunset let’s first tackle some terminology. Golden hour is something that is thrown around a lot when discussing what time of day your session should be.
The golden hour is a term used a lot in the photography space to describe the time during sunrise or sunset when everything is glowing and golden. You can think of it like that moment of the day when you feel the urge to grab your phone or camera and start taking photos. When the light takes a yellowish, golden tone that coincides with the sunrise or sunset moment.
The duration of the golden hour depends on many things, such as the location or the season. The time in which sunrise and sunset occur changes every single day. The look of golden hour can be different based on your location, cloud cover, tree line, etc. It’s also important to note that golden hour isn’t always an hour—it’s usually more of a few minutes actually.
Sunrise vs. Sunset
So with that in mind, a lot of photographers are often seeking out that golden hour during the sunrise or sunset times. Here are the difference between the two: some say that sunrises tend to have a more bluish tone, whereas sunsets tend to have a yellower tone. This can be modified and changed with editing meaning that these tones shouldn’t concern you too much when selecting a time for your session.
When to choose a sunrise session
> If you want fewer people at the location.
> If you are not available during the evening sunset time
> If the location of the sun during sunrise is more ideal
> If you like the idea of having some fog in your photos
> If you’re shooting near water and want gorgeous reflections
When to choose a sunset session
> If you prefer a more hazy look
> If you need longer time to prepare for your session throughout the day
> If you like more golden tones
> If the location of the sun during sunset is more ideal
When selecting a session time we recommend chatting with your photographer about weather, timing, location, etc. Ask your photographer to provide example images from both a sunrise session and a sunset session. Your photographer should be familiar with where the sun will be in the sky during your session time and what it will approximately look like in each location.
Selecting a photographer that can shoot in all lighting scenarios, whether it’s golden hour or not, is important in ensuring that you are working with someone experienced and capable. Whether you choose a sunrise session or a sunset session, you should always be confident that you’re going to get amazing photographs that you love.