The Best Time of Day for an Outdoor Headshot Session in San Francisco

There are a number of benefits to having your headshot taken outdoors. The natural environment can add color and life to your photos while having your shoot outside your home, office, or school can speak volumes about your personality. There are countless beauty spots around San Francisco and the Bay Area that act as great backdrops for headshots whether they’re for businesspeople, actors, or for social media, but when is the best time of day to go? It might seem a strange question, but the truth is that there are many factors, environmental and otherwise, that go into framing you in the best possible way in an outdoor setting.

The Wind

San Francisco is known for its blustery afternoons, so going for a post-lunch headshot session isn’t always the best idea. How can the wind affect a still image? Well, you can’t see the wind in a picture, but you can tell it’s there if the subject has long hair! For this reason, it’s recommended that longhaired people schedule their headshot session for the morning. If you have short hair, an afternoon shoot is just fine. 

The Light

Lighting is likely the most important part of a professional photo shoot. In the studio, the photographer has complete control over the lighting, but this is not the case in an outdoor shoot. The time of day has a big impact on the lighting, as you might imagine, and your photographer will likely ask you to schedule your shoot during a time when the lighting is at its most flattering. This is typically after 2 pm when the natural light becomes soft. The afternoon and evening have a wide range of natural lighting options, so you’ll be able to take a number of headshots in different lights.

The Weather

Keeping an eye on the forecast in your area is a good idea, as is knowing the weather trends. In the Bay Area, it tends to get windy after 2 pm, as mentioned above, and in other locations, the clouds roll in after lunch. Make a note of typical weather patterns in your area and check the local forecast before your shoot in order to guarantee the weather conditions and lighting that you want.

The Traffic

If you’re getting your headshots done in a commercial or metropolitan area, you’ll have to consider rush hour and when there will be the most automobile and foot traffic. No one wants to be photo bombed in their professional shots! Even places like parks and woods can be subject to high foot traffic if you go on a popular day like Sunday. 11 am and 2 pm on Monday thru Friday are ideal times to schedule your outdoor headshots as they are during the workday. Everyone is either at the office or in school and as a result, there is less traffic to deal with. These times also work well for parks and beauty spots, as they have far fewer visitors during the week than on weekends.

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