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Golden Retriever Golden Hour

Magical Mornings for Dog Photo Sessions

I admit… I’m not necessarily a morning person.  If you have followed along with some of my blog posts, I am quick to mention I love my sleep AND an amazing cup of coffee.  (Off topic, but I recently subscribed to Trade Coffee and I’m obsessed – click the link and first cup is on me!)

Why do I prefer mornings so much? Can’t we get beautiful photos any time of day?

1. Golden Hour

First of all, I recommend sessions during Golden Hour.  This can also be known as “magical hour”. Golden hour is the first hour after sunrise and the last hour of light before sunset that produces a warm natural light.  When scheduling photo sessions, if it’s for the morning,  I begin either 30 minutes prior to sunrise, if doing a beach session. Otherwises I begin a half hour after sunrise for another type of location.  Evening sessions I begin 2 hours before sunset.  These times allow us to “hit” golden hour and that beautiful light, no matter where our location might be.

Lilya Brenner is a fellow photographer friend, owner of Lily Raven Photography, who lives in western MA, about 2 hours from me.  We chose a halfway point to meet up, which was Broken Creek Vineyard in Shrewsbury, MA.  What wonderful owners to permit us to use their beautiful grounds bright and early!  

Broken Creek Vineyard Golden Hour
Lovely Liliya and handsome pup Julius

“Ok, Darlene – you say Golden Hour is in the evening, too?  So why do you prefer mornings still, even though you love sleep?”

2. Less Distractions

Don’t forget: Dogs are animals!  You may think they have the best “sit” in the world, but what about all of the other dogs and people out and about?  What are the odds your dog will completely ignore this?  It’s challenging enough in new environments with lots of smells!  Starting early in the morning is peaceful and beautiful.  Just this morning I met up with a client at 6:00 AM at Zorvino Vineyards.  It was perfect!  The light was amazing and we didn’t run into a soul.  Ivy did want to chase a bunny once, but the quiet made for a fun and relaxing photo session. She had the beautiful grounds all to herself! (Can you believe Ivy is 13?!!!)

Zorvino Vineyards Photo Session
Sweet Senior, Ivy, All Smiles

Is your dog a bit “reactive” around other dogs?  Welcome to my world!  I call Kota “Cujo” now and again.  I can empathize.  I promise you, morning will be much more relaxing and stress-free for all of us. 

3. You Have the Rest of the Day!

Photo sessions can run from 45 minutes up to 2 hours.  I don’t put a time limit on things – again, dogs are animals! They might “check out” in 30 minutes – or they might have a ton of energy to keep going long!  I keep the day flexible and I do not over book.  

Do you have to work at 9:00?  We just got a whole photo session complete with gorgeous pictures AND you didn’t have to take a day off from work!  Especially during the summertime with sunrise being so early.  You can go home, shower, have a hot breakfast… and your dog has already walked!  It’s perfect!  

Stella is a 5 month old Golden Retriever puppy … a “golden” at “golden hour” – perfect!  This was a great time to meet up!  Puppies do get very distracted and things were nice and quiet.  Mom and dad were able to work that day – we had a productive morning with beautiful images!  

Golden Retriever Golden Hour
Adorable Stella and her Beautiful Mom

What do you think?  Have I twisted your arm to set the alarm clock for 4:30 AM?  Let’s do this!!! Let’s get some beautiful pictures of you and your dog early in the morning with magical light!

This week’s post is part of a pet photographer’s blog circle.  Click on the link at the end of each post to follow along! Next up  Syracuse Photographer Nancy Kieffer shares why early morning or late afternoon photo sessions shine.  Enjoy and have a great weekend!  

6 thoughts on “Magical Mornings for Dog Photo Sessions”

  1. I smiled throughout reading this post, your energy and personality just shine in your writing! I too have a couple of favorite photo spots, which of course are also favorites of other photographers too, so I’ll only photograph at those in the early morning before they arrive. I consider it well timed if we’re leaving as they’re arriving. The 4:30am wake up is ALWAYS worth it!

  2. Glad you admitted you are not a morning person. Good explanation why you like to shoot at that time. The shots you showed with the reasons why you like to shoot at this time are excellent.

  3. You know … I love a good sunset. I can be more awake and motivated to enjoy it but your third point stuck with me, especially for sessions. You have the rest of the day. I don’t like to put time limits on sessions either but the light of day does present a natural limit to everything, doesn’t it?

  4. Ok – 4:30 am? I consider myself a bit of a morning person – but not that much! Your photos are amazing – and they showcase the golden light very nicely! Perhaps I am not a morning person, but I will say that the sun isn’t up until about 6:15 here (thank goodness!). For all you fellow photographers….if you’re doing a shoot at this time – do you have your own dogs – and when do they get their time? Just curious 🙂

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