When I take photos, I prefer to photograph in the early morning or in the late evening. This is especially important on the French Riviera, where there is normally abundant light.
Scheduling the NUMBER ONE MOST IMPORTANT THING in the results of your photo shoot and often something that clients get wrong or that I often struggle to get clients to understand. I’ve created this blog post as my way of thoroughly explaining my lighting philosophy so that my clients can get the most out of their shoots. With that said, anyone interested in photography can appreciate.
A lot of my clients are under the misperception that the more light you have, the better! This could not be MORE WRONG.
Taking photos in the middle of the day, the NEGATIVES:
1. Racoon eyes (heavy bags under the eyes cast by shadows of the brows)
3. Contrasting shadows and unmatching exposures.
6. Shooting around the sun.
7. Light reflecting off the water
Some of these factors are very self explanatory but others are completely foreign to people that don’t know photography. I am going to jump into a couple of them in depth.
Contrasting shadows and unmatching exposures.
Okay, what the f* does that mean? This is sooooooooo important. Take an example. You want to take a photo next to a beautiful doorway. The building next to the doorway is casting a huge shadow diagonally across the doorway. When I take the photo half of the photo is blinding bright white. OVEREXPOSED. Meanwhile, you’re standing in a shadow and you are dark in the shadow.
This is a very common scenario on the French Riviera: clients want to take a photo on the beach. The beach is in the shade but the sea is reflecting the bright daylight. I take the photo but the water is too bright, way overexposed and the subject (client) is dark and shadowy.
Shooting around the sun.
It’s not completely impossible to photograph in the middle of the day, however your options are seriously limited because you need to shoot around the sun. Often, when the sun is too high in the sky I run into problems when photographing couples. The two beautiful lovers are looking at each other but one person is in direct sunlight and the second person is in the shadow. This is a big problem for capturing a beautiful photo. A typical scenario that I run into when shooting at the wrong time of day is that people want to be photographed in front of a specific location (for instance a pretty building) but the light is strong and direct in their face and they cannot get the photo they would have loved in the location they were dreaming of. This is solved by taking photos at the correct time of day.
The positives of shooting during the morning and late evening.
So shooting in the morning and the evening pretty much solves all of the above problems! Not bad, hey!? In addition to solving those problems, shooting at the right time of the day comes with additional benefits. Golden hour (the hour before sunset) is a beautiful time to shoot because you get a warm gorgeous glow. I love when the light brushes the hair and shoulders of my clients. It’s one of my simple pleasures that gives a photo a pop.
Check out this photo below taken before sunset. I love the warm glow coming from the background.
Another important note. CLOUDS.
Clouds freak people out on the French Riviera. I understand you came to the coast for beautiful weather and to go to the beach. One problem I have on the French Riviera is that when people see clouds in the forecast they INSTANTLY want to cancel their shoot. It couldn’t be a bigger mistake! A light layer of cloud is BRILLIANT for a photoshoot. The clouds act as essentially a gigantic light diffuser that makes the light hit the earth in a beautiful even coat of light. People glow under a light layer of cloud. Don’t believe me? Check out this photo shoot in cloudy weather. Clouds basically eliminate the annoying contrasting shadows and you no longer have to shoot around the sun.