I’ve developed a system that allows me to plan a WEEK of social media content in THIRTY MINUTES, and I want to show you how to do it too! Register for my FREE class, and I’ll see you there.

REGISTER NOW

FREE MASTERCLASS
7-Day Content Plan in 30 Minutes

What Time Should I Start an Engagement Shoot?

August 14, 2013 - Photography

ALL POSTS

BUSINESS

PHOTOGRAPHY

ALL CATEGORIES

Dear Jasmine,
I've been a photographer for about two years, but really started pursuing my professional aspirations last year. The progress has been exciting, but I still have a lot to learn. I can't seem to figure out the best time to start an engagement session. Sometimes I start it too early and it's hot and bright and harsh lighting. Sometimes I start too late and I feel rushed or it takes me a long time to get the clients comfortable. Do you have suggestions or tips?
Sincerely,
Struggling at Sunset

Dear Struggling,
There's always a learning curve when it comes to starting something new, especially if you aim to make photography your profession. There are a few things to take into consideration, so let's dive into how to securely establish the start time of an engagement session.

    Time of Year
Summer traditionally yields a longer sunsets, later in the day. This, of course, varies where you're located, but summer in the western hemisphere treats photographers nicely. If I shoot in the middle of the winter, I know I need to move swiftly and quickly to ensure I document everything I need to. Winter sunsets pass rather quickly and there are competing elements that expedite the loss of light, which leads me to my next point…
    Weather
I always check the weather report the days leading to an outdoor shoot. A good five days in advance should help prepare you for what's in store and you can find ways to shift the start time if needed. I usually set a tentative start time with clients when we plan the engagement session, but I always state we could start as much as 25 minutes early depending on weather considerations. The start time is confirmed via email about a week in advance, so we're always on the same page. If there's a strong chance of clouds, overcast skies, or a coastal fog, I start the session early since I won't be able to maximize sunset light.
    Sunset Time
Before setting the start time for an engagement session, I consult this website to determine sunset time, then work backwards from that point. For example, if sunset is slated for 6:45pm and I'm shooting along the coast (which means I'll have full access to sunset light until it drops below the horizon line), I'd likely start the session at 5:15pm (this allows time for the clients to warm up to my camera as well as time for an outfit change), resulting in an hour and a half engagement session. So, what if I'm not shooting along the coast? Great question…
    Environmental Considerations
While knowing sunset time is valuable to an engagement photographer, another important factor to consider is the environment. If you're shooting in a city, the shoot will likely have to start earlier because the minute the sun falls behind the buildings, lighting will be optimal to work in. Finding open shade and reflected light is greatly advised because by the time sunset falls in the city, the streets are dark and murky due to the density of surrounding edifices.
Lastly, if you're shooting indoors and prefer leveraging natural light, shooting midday is recommended so light is streaming through windows and acts as a soft light source.

Taking these four factors into consideration, you can confidently set a start time with your clients, then confirm the finalized time about a week before the shoot. I hope this helps, Struggling, and I look forward to you loving sunset only a way a natural light photographer can!
Stay Fabulous,
j*

To read more Dear Jasmine posts, feel free to CLICK HERE for more!

SHARE TO

FREE PRODUCTIVITY PLANNER

Life is about to get a whole lot easier.  

Desperate for change, I created a Productivity Planner to help streamline my workflow and I kissed stress goodbye. 

[With cherry flavored chapstick.]  

FREE INSTAGRAM GUIDE

Oh, friend, it's time to start growing your business on Instagram.
  
Sign up to receive a free Instagram marketing guide, helpful tips, and free stock photos you can use for your business.  

It’s basically an Instanote sent to your inbox to help push you toward your social goals and help grow your following.

FREE STOCK PHOTOS

You're busy, pulled in lots of directions, and trying to run a business. 

In addition to all this, you know you should be posting on social media, so how do you balance it all? 

I'm dedicated to your success, so download five free stock photos to use online...I hope this empowers you to attract dream customers along the way!

Free Productivity
Planner

Free Instagram
Guide

Free Stock
Photos

How To Get Organized And Create
A Productive Work Schedule

5 Ways To Easily Get Authentic
Engagement On Instagram

5 Photos For You To Use On
Social Media

Get Started By Downloading My Free Resources

FREE PRODUCTIVITY PLANNER

Life is about to get a whole lot easier.  

Desperate for change, I created a Productivity Planner to help streamline my workflow and I kissed stress goodbye. 

[With cherry flavored chapstick.]  

FREE INSTAGRAM GUIDE

Oh, friend, it's time to start growing your business on Instagram.
  
Sign up to receive a free Instagram marketing guide, helpful tips, and free stock photos you can use for your business.  

It’s basically an Instanote sent to your inbox to help push you toward your social goals and help grow your following.

FREE STOCK PHOTOS

You're busy, pulled in lots of directions, and trying to run a business. 

In addition to all this, you know you should be posting on social media, so how do you balance it all? 

I'm dedicated to your success, so download five free stock photos to use online...I hope this empowers you to attract dream customers along the way!

I wouldn’t say we were business nerds but my husband just sent me a Slack message asking me to call him.

If you need me, just follow the trail of empty La Croix cans around my house.

"Margaritas make me sound smarter, dance better, sound amazing, and look like Shakira...