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Dawn Arising

Why Early Morning or Late Afternoon Photo Sessions Shine

When I talk about my photography with others we may get into a conversation about light. On a bright sunny mid-morning, the conversation might go, “Oh, look how sunny it is right now, you must love this light”. To which I have to answer bright sunny days are not my favorite. The sun which is high overhead at midday can create harsh shadows on my subject making it hard to come up with a pleasing portrait. My favorite time of day for photography sessions are about 2 hours near sunrise and 2 hours near sunset. I would much rather shoot sessions at the bookends of the day.

Advantages of both Sunrise and sunset sessions

  • Shooting toward the sun can create a dramatic effect by either creating a silhoutte against the sun or using off camera flash to light your subjects against the dramatic sky
  • Shooting with the sun at your back- will illuminate your subjects with even golden light which will make them shine.

Sunrise photo sessions

Asseteague island horses
Dawn Arising


  • get up before the dawn and watch the stars fade and the golden light fill the sky
  • little traffic
  • fewer people at your chosen spot
  • Beat the heat of the day


  • You (and your subjects) need to wake up and get out of the house well before dawn in order to capture the stars and the early blue hour.
  • Sunrise seems to happen fast and within an hour or so, the sun is is starting to get too high in the sky and starts to create those shadows.

Sunset photo Session

Dog and sunset at stone quarry art Park
sunset at stone quarry art Park


  • If there are clouds in the sky, the sun starts to create colorful clouds before the actual sunset.
  • There is time for the photographer and subject to get to know each other and “warm- up” to posing
  • The lighting seems to last longer. It starts with the colorful clouds, then the golden, low diffused light, then the blue sky, then the stars (or if you are in the city- you have the city lights)
  • you don’t have to wake up early


  • More traffic to get to your venue
  • More traffic at your venue.
owner and pet in late afternoon
forever loved

You may feel from the list, that i like the sunset over the sunrise photo session. Although I love both sessions, I think I actually prefer the sunrise. This is because the light traffic/people on the streets or in the venue is a huge advantage.

This post is part of circular blog with other Professional Pet Photographers. Our goal is to focus on a particular topic/assignment each week and put our own spin on it. There are photographers from all over the world participating.  Follow the next link to view how the next amazing photographer tackles this weeks challenge.  Follow each link at the end of each blog until you return to me. Then you have successfully completed our blog circle. Enjoy!

+++++ NOW head over to:

Ina J Photography – Canberra Pet Photographer on best times of day for pet photography

Come and find your Best Friend!
Second Chance has a unique program near Syracuse N.Y. where inmates train the rescued dogs. This program gives both the dogs and the inmates a second chance in life.  Appointments currently required related to Covid-19 protocols.

Nyla is up for adoption

Nyla is waiting for her forever home.

Please contact Friends of Second Chance.

Friends of Second Chance Canine Adoption Shelter
6660 E. Seneca Turnpike
Jamesville, NY 13078

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Linda Perdue

    I personally love sunset – especially at our local neighborhood park – but I get it with sunrise – it’s cooler! Here there is summer thunderstorms, so afternoons (sunset) are very hard to predict and get except with my own dogs….Thanks for sharing some lovely images.

    1. N Kieffer

      I used to be very much a morning person so sunrises were great for me. As i get older though, it is harder for me to get up and then my clients generally prefer a sunset session.

  2. Angela Schneider

    I love that you broke down the advantages and disadvantages to each time of day. I wish I could be a morning or night person. I’m stuck in the in-between. 😀

    1. N Kieffer

      While those are my prefered times, I definitely do more client work late in the day or sunset. i do more of my landscape photos at dawn.

  3. Tracy Allard

    I’m with you Nancy, I love both too but prefer sunrise over sunset by a smidge (maybe that’s because I AM a morning person!) and I LOVE how you spotlight a dog in need of a home at the end of every blog post, what a great way to raise awareness for pups in need!

    1. N Kieffer

      Thanks! I hope that a few pups get noticed from my posts. I was thrilled a couple years ago when one dog that had been with us for over a year and had medical issues, was adopted after reading my post. That whole blog post was dedicated to her though.

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