Many photographers, if not most, chase golden hour 100%. I definitely agree it is a beautiful time to shoot, but have you shot at night for fun yet?
Because I am a lifestyle photographer, most of my clients are looking for the beautiful soft-lighting pictures that shooting at golden hour gets you. It ties a whole picture together of joy and love when you have a soft sunny glow in the background of your image. It truly creates something warm within you when you look at those gorgeous sunset shots. But...
I must say in all of my years of photography, there is something so challenging and creative about shooting at night. There are a lot of unpredictable or difficult factors that come into play if you choose to do a session during this time of the day, but that is all the more fun! I mean, who doesn't love a challenge when it's paired with creativity? And to be honest, I've had TONS of fun trying to figure out where to place subjects in order to illuminate them in the darkness. The above photo was also quite the challenge as the original setting we were in was actually very dark! But since I had just been learning about light trails, I asked my sisters to come along on an adventure, brought a tripod and my phone flashlight... And voila! This is probably one of my all-time favorite pictures I've ever taken.
Unpopular opinion #2: This time of day = no rush
What do I mean by that?
With daylight, we have to make sure we get the golden shot while the sky is still golden... See what I mean? But at night, once the daylight is gone, you have endless amount of options to play with. Of course, depending on your taste, you can find areas with different styles of lighting, but most of what you'll find at night is neon. I've noticed that many styles in photography and art have evolved to more muted tones, pastels, and things of that nature when it comes to the "lifestyle" genre, BUT who says you can't break the mold every once in a while just to have some fun? I mean, all of these look amazing even if they're not used for the front wall in their home living room, and who doesn't want to feel they're on the front cover of a magazine?
Unpopular opinion #3: night time offers a different kind of exploration
Have you ever just wanted to feel like the main character in your life? Or is that just a cliché saying going around these days? If you're anything like me, feeling like you've really been chasing after those dreams and goals and living in them is like nothing else. While you may not be able to pack all of your belongings into a van and travel the world instantly, you can feel a little adventurous by going out exploring at a time when others are staying in, getting cozy and ready for the nightly snooze tonight.
Why would you do that, you might ask?
I'm going to say it... and you're going to cringe, and that's okay. BUT YOLO. Like, if you have the chance to do something crazy in your life, try something new, be adventurous, you really
only live once. There's something thrilling about the uncertainty of trying something new or knowing that you're doing something that other people are not taking advantage of their own time to do. That feeling of standing out sometimes makes you feel like the only adventure you really need is right in front of you. Of course, who doesn't love a ballin' vacation across the world? But the reality is that that life isn't always possible - at least not for my bank account.
But there are other things you can try to still scratch the itch of adventure. And it's right outside your front door. So go do it!
Unpopular opinion #4: There's never bad lighting
This one is short and sweet for the photographers out there. When I've been pressed for time in my daylight shoots, I start earlier in the day to get all of the shots I want. But until the light really softens, I find it hard not to be met with harsh shadows and highlights in my pictures making the subject look a little less flattering than I would desire. Of course, you can always compensate for that by finding shady places to start with, but what if you're in the middle of a field or a desert with nothing around you?
At night, there isn't any harsh lighting. And that's what can be challenging, and also flattering. All you have to do is place your subject close to those neon lights and you're solid. You can get creative with prism lenses and reflectors to bounce the light around in different places, but the picture will just look better the MORE light you add to it.
And an added plus: multiple colors in the shot actually looks really cool.
Unpopular opinion #5: this is where creativity grows
This particular area I'm sure applies also to very harsh lighting that you would find if you shot mid-day, but nonetheless, in my experience I have found this to be true: the less popular of a time of day to create content, the more creative you have to be to get a good shot.
That being said, as a photographer, I have walked away from night sessions learning SO MUCH MORE than I have walking away from golden hour sessions - you know, the ones everyone chases down for lifestyle shots? And they chase them for a reason! I swear, golden hour is definitely king, but if you're looking to actually learn what your camera is capable of, what your creativity is capable of, or what you're capable of as a model or subject, try the times of day where the lighting isn't always the lighting everyone else is going for. In some cases when shooting at night, it can be too dark. What are you going to do then? Or... your subject looks fantastic in the neon lights, but the picture is bland? What then? The above picture is a great example of that exact feeling. I had been shooting with Matthew for a couple of minutes, when I turned around and saw his reflection in the window while we were walking. I then asked him to mess with his jacket while staring at his reflection and THIS shot has been another favorite of mine because of the creativity that came into play in that moment.
If you're a growing photographer or aspiring model, I highly suggest taking up the opportunity to shoot when you can grow the most as an artist. And if you're neither a model or a photographer, but you want to try something different in your photos, I promise that this time of day offers so much fun for you! There really is nothing like feeling you're the star of the show in those neon lights.
And if night photography isn't for you, but you want to try something new, I suggest a sunrise session or a blue hour session! For more information about those, you can message me for details. :)
What do you think about night photography?
Do you agree with me or disagree? Why? Had you considered it before you read this article? I want to know all of the things in the comments below, so leave me one there about what you thinking about shooting at night. Some of the greatest photographers I've heard of have mastered this time of day, so I wanted to share my personal experience with you. Thanks for reading!
If you're interested in giving something at night a go, smash that button below and let's get to planning! I can't wait to talk to you soon.