Why I Shoot at Sunrise

Something to take into account when scheduling a photography is time, particularly for photographers who work with natural light, like myself. Now a good photographer should constantly be learning and honing their craft so they can produce beautiful images no matter the time of day (I highly recommend Katelyn James’s Light and Location course for this).

But no matter the skill level, we photographers are always going to want to shoot during this magical time called Golden Hour. What is Golden Hour? It’s the time just after sunrise or just before sunset, when the light outside creates a soft dreamy glow, and helps create magical portraits like these:

If I get the choice between the two, I prefer sunrise, because deep down I am a morning person. Yes, I hate extracting myself from bed as much as the next person but there is just something wonderful about being up before the rest of the world. Now the schedule is not for the faint of heart, because while I can roll out of bed, throw on my cowboy boots (‘cause Texas) and grab my camera, my clients may be getting up as early as four AM to get ready for their session.

Is it worth it? I think so. Sunrise has the advantage of always gaining light whereas sunset is always losing light; with sunrise there isn’t the concern if the session runs late of losing that precious light. Plus, after the session you can grab a cup of coffee and be ready to enjoy your day already dressed and ready to go. Or you can nap.

I love it because it starts the day on such a high note, and I can usually camp out at a coffee shop and immediately start on your images (and probably send you a sneak peak or too).

So next time you’re scheduling a portrait session, think about rolling out of those covers early and having a good time in the early morning, enjoying a fresh sun’s glow.


  • Love your passion for sunrise sessions! Makes me want to crawl our of bed early one mornin…. But I’m a night owl lol.

  • Very interesting perspective. I have only done two sunrise sessions in my life and I have to agree about the energy that comes from that time in the morning. I know my kids are WAY easier to be around in the morning than they are in the evening. (LOVE that kiddos in the water).

  • Sunrise is my favorite time also!! The pictures are beautiful!!

  • I love your perspective on sunrise shoots! I have always been a sunset shooter….I might just have to try out a sunrise session or two… you make an excellent case!

  • I really need to get myself up and do a sunrise session! So beautiful!


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