Understand 5 Times for Photography

Understand 5 Times for Photography

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There is always the time that you wonder when is the best time to go out and start shooting. Sometimes it is because of current circumstances that cause you to go out at a specific random time and then get an amazing photo. You can do that, but isn’t always best to know the best time to go out. This is how you can understand 5 times for photography.


Understand 5 Times for Photography


Why Should I know the time?

In our 24 hours a day of our life, the sun goes around the earth and never stops. And for photography, it causes a movement of natural light (sun), like where it’s heading, the direction it comes from, and shadow differently every time. For landscape photographers (or any kind of outdoor photography) knowing how time affects the photograph is important. For that, it is important to understand each time of day so you can make the best of your photograph.

Of course, it’s gonna be different every second. But we can’t hold our camera every second, right? (or can you). So when is the time to photograph? What I did, or many photographers I think, is just group the different times based on the light it makes. It is simple to understand and trust me when I say, understanding this will really improve your photography.

Daytime and Midday

The hottest time of the day, midday, or what I call “I don’t want to go out, it’s too hot.”

Many photographers, including me, think that midday or noon is the worst time for photography. The reason is that the sun is directly above your head and the light goes straight down, causing shadow and underexpose your subject. Another reason is that there is no interest in light. No interesting color and the sky is usually just bright white. That’s why there are not many photographers doing it in the middle of the day. But my reason is only that it’s too hot. Unless if you have no choice.

Now it doesn’t mean that you can’t get the best in this time. For me, just turn it to black & white. Take my photography hunting in Jakarta, for example. I did that in the middle of the day, and just simply turn it to black and white.

Jakarta, 2016


This time of day can be interesting or not, depending on you. Obviously, there’s no sun at night, so you don’t have to bother with the light direction. The question how do you photograph if there’s no light? Simple. there is always artificial light that comes from the street lamp, car light, or any kind of shiny stuff that can become your light source. One advantage of artificial light is that you can control it. And that’s what light painting photography does.

But I’m not light painting photography, but landscape. No worry, artificial light can create even more colorful photographs. It’s because there is a lot of light with different colors. One kind of photography effect that has been applied a lot in night landscape photography is long exposure photography (it is basically what light painting photography does). Because it is easy and creates a really beautiful colorful photograph.

Or if you’re in a natural setting you can use long exposure or starlight and create astrophotography.

Jakarta, 2015


Sunset or Sunrise

I’m sure you know this and I’m sure you have photographed at this time, a lot I think. Now, for me, sunset or sunrise is the time when the light is the strongest. The sun directly aligns with you and you can see the sun in front of you, depending on your position. The light also creates an amazing hot color (yellow, orange, to red) to the sky that landscape photographers really love.

But if you really wanted to photograph sunset or sunrise you should really prepare. Because it only lasted for at least 10 to 15 minutes, depending on your location. Which isn’t really much of a time.

Central Java, 2016

This two are probably the least heard of. But these are my most favorite times. and many call these the magic hours.

Blue Hours

Just like the name said, this time of day creates a blue light in the sky. At this time of day, the sun hasn’t risen or has set (depending on the time) fully causing a bright blue-purple color in the sky. It lasted for an hour at least.

Yogyakarta, 2016

Golden Hours

Just like the name, this time of day creates a golden-yellow warm color in the sky. At this time, the sun is about to set or has just risen (depending on the time). Like blue hours, it lasted for an hour at least.

Yogyakarta, 2016



Every time of the day create a different effect of light that can determine your photograph. And that is why it is important to understand it. Now to put it simply, so you can understand each sequence. From the beginning of the day until the end:

Night->Blue Hours->Sunrise->Golden Hours->Daytime->Golden Hours->Sunset->Blue Hours->Night

Remember that different places create different times. For example, if my place sunset at 6 pm, the different place probably at 7 pm. That’s why you should understand the time where you photograph. You can find it on the internet or there are many mobile apps that can help you with that.

You can app, like Photographer’s Ephemeris to check the best timing for the light you want in any kind of location.


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