Spring is right around the corner and with that come lots of engagement sessions and questions about what time of day is best for photos. Personally, I love the last two hours before sunset when the sun is lower in the sky and we get backlighting, followed by glowy light right before we get the even light that comes between golden hour and blue hour. The changes in light at the end of the day are just so pretty! Unfortunately, evening shoots aren’t always ideal, and today’s article is all about my next favorite time to do engagement sessions: sunrise! Here are a few reasons why a sunrise shoot may be better than a sunset one as well as a few tips for how to prepare.
Why do a sunrise session?
Here are four reasons when I recommend a sunrise session:
- You’ve chosen a location where there is a lot of traffic. In this case, a sunrise session is ideal in order to avoid the crowds. Several years ago, my husband Jay and I had our 4 year anniversary photos taken in Vienna. We didn’t exactly want to wake up at 4am to get ready but we did want to have Vienna all to ourselves so we had a decision to make and it definitely paid off to get up early! The only tourists in sight were us two!
- You’ve chosen a month when it is very hot. On a hot summer day with a high of 95 degrees, it may still be in the low 90’s or high 80’s in the evening but it may only be in the 70’s at sunrise. It may be to your advantage to do a sunrise shoot if you’d like to have the temperatures be 10-20 degrees cooler. For our anniversary shoot in the middle of August, Jay planned to wear a suit and we knew it would be much more bearable at sunrise rather than in the evening.
- You love morning light. There’s something about morning light that you just can’t replicate in the evening, ha! It starts out nice and soft like in the images above and, if you’re lucky, it ends in an amazing morning GLOW.
- You’ve chosen a location where the light is better at sunrise. Sure, we can always find the good light in any place you choose for your session, be we can’t always guarantee we’ll be able to use the backdrop you’d like if it’s in bad light at the end of the day.
How to prepare for a sunrise engagement session
- Consider time and location.
If you want to get the best images out of your sunrise engagement session, timing is of the essence. I’ll use sunrisesunset.com to determine the sunrise time and determine a session start time based on that and on the location. If the shooting location is a wide open space (like the beach) or urban (with buildings shielding the first signs of sun) we may meet either right at sunrise or shortly after.
- Prepare the night before.
You’ve probably spent quite some time thinking about the outfits you’d like to wear, but make sure your fiance is on board, too! You don’t want to be waiting until morning to make any final decisions. Make sure you prepare outfits the night before, go to bed early, and set more than one alarm.
- Get there on time.
There is nothing more important than arriving on time for a sunrise engagement session. As a natural light photographer, I will depend 100% on the sunlight on the morning of your shoot. Arriving late only ensures that we’ll lose the very light we got up early to capture.
I hope these tips help you determine if a sunrise shoot is necessary and how to prepare for it if it is. Have fun planning your shoot!
Engagement Session Planning Guide
Did you find this post useful? Fill out the form below to get our free Engagement Session Planning Guide along with lots of tips and tricks for planning your wedding!