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Morning or Evening? What is the Best Time for Photoshoots?

Date of publication: 06 Apr 2023

Firstly, I would like to mention that I am currently based in Koh Samui, Thailand, so my suggestions are mostly applicable to this location. However, some ideas and reasons may also work for other locations.

In this article, I will answer to some common questions that customers ask me about the best timing for photo shoots. Such as:

  • Is sunset the best time for taking pictures?
  • What is the "golden hour" in Samui?
  • When is the best time to shoot during this period?
  • What are the pros and cons of shooting in the morning versus the evening?

Samui is the best!

To be honest, there isn't a big difference in the quality of photos between morning and evening shoots, especially in Koh Samui. Each time of day has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Morning Photo Shooting

Morning or Evening? What is the Best Time for Photoshoots?. photographer Dimas Frolov photo 1861
Photo by Samui Photographer - Dimas Frolov

Usually it is not an oblivious idea to take pictures at sunrise. But frankly speaking, it’s almost impossible to really see the difference between sunrise and sunset light on the photos. People who have experience seeing sunrises, can prove that it is very nice and colorful as well as sunsets.

Waking up early in the morning can be challenging as it requires you to start your preparations earlier than your usual routine. You will need to wake up earlier than your usual time. You have to prepare yourself, and in the case of a family photo shoot, you also need to prepare your kids. For ladies, the time required for getting ready can be 1-2 hours, so starting a photo shoot early in the morning can be a challenge for them.

Anyway, start photo shoot at morning time has a great advantages:

  • Less intense heat, more comfortable temperature
  • Empty public areas, with not people around and on the background
  • The rest of the day is free, after morning taking photos, haha ;)

Evening, afternoon Photo Shooting

The most common reasons for an evening photo shoot are:

  • Softer light
  • Sunset colors in the sky
  • The "golden hour"

And what can I say? You may not believe it, but all these reasons also apply to morning photo shoots. During sunset, you can see softer light because the sun is closer to the skyline, creating long shadows that can be used for close-up portraits and interesting light effects such as lens flare.

Surprisingly, the same thing happens when the sun is rising! Sunset colors are the same as sunrise colors due to the natural effect of the sun being closer or behind the skyline. The "golden hour" is applicable to both sunrise and sunset times, as you can find on the internet.

So, what? Sunrise, sunset, no difference?

Therefore, there are no special reasons for choosing only evening photo shoots. However, let's be honest, organizing an evening photo shoot is much easier. You can wake up at your usual time and have enough time to prepare yourself. This is especially advantageous for big families.

Organizing an evening photo shoot is much easier.

What about Daytime shooting?

Morning or Evening? What is the Best Time for Photoshoots?. photographer Dimas Frolov photo 1860
Photo by Samui Photographer - Dimas Frolov

The middle of the day is the hottest time and usually has very harsh light, which can be a big challenge for photographers. For regular people, it can be difficult due to sweat, which appears on faces and spots on clothing. Additionally, squinting eyes (and faces in general) are not the best facial expressions that people want to see in their photos.

During the day, there is an amazing colorful azure sea, vibrant colors in nature, blue sky, and a clear indication of summer in the photos. When people see these pictures, they will enjoy the colors and summer vibes of the location, recalling their pleasant trip to tropical Thailand.

Personally, I really like this time for shooting, especially on Koh Samui, which has amazing light, probably due to the abundance of sand and reflecting surfaces. I like to take bikini photos during this time, and some fashion photos turn out really well with hard sunlight.

I really like day time for shooting, especially on Koh Samui ... However, I definitely would not recommend this time for family photo shoots with kids.

Samui Golden Hour

I should mention the specifics of the "Golden Hour" in Samui. It's not really an hour, but only about 10-15 minutes. In the middle latitudes, the Golden Hour can last up to 2-3 hours. However, on Samui, the sun is quite high throughout the day and "drops rapidly" below the horizon closer to sunset. After another 10-15 minutes, it becomes completely dark. Therefore, it's not necessary to rely too much on the "Golden Hour" for taking photos here.


To sum up, the best time for a photo shoot depends on what you like, the type of photos you want, and where you are. Both morning and evening shoots have good and bad things about them. But it's important to understand the benefits and difficulties of each part of the day for taking pictures and how the natural light affects the results.

If you want to take pictures in Koh Samui, just know that every time of day is beautiful in its own way, and you can take great pictures no matter where you go. You can take pictures of the sunset, the sunrise, or even when the sun is really high in the sky. All of them are great!

Final Sum up

My rating of part of days for photo shooting:

  1. Morning – start at sunrise, which is around 6am on Koh Samui.
  2. Afternoon – start from 2-3pm and planning the photo shooting finished at sunset, which is 6-7pm
  3. Noon and day time – There is no big difference in light between 10am till 3pm.
photo: Dimas Frolov
About the Author

Portrait photographer based on Samui, Thailand.
Originally from Ukraine, he has over 15 years of photography experience taking pictures around Europe and Asia. Multi-Award winner and author of many articles about photography.
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