Christina Julia Photography


Should I have my photos taken at Sunrise or Sunset?

The number one question though I’m always asked as a photographer is “Should I have my photos taken at sunrise or sunset?” You can get your photos taken at any time of day BUT certain times of day are definitely better for photos. If you have the right photographer though, one that can handle the harsh sun and shadows, then magic can still be created and you can still have some really amazing photographs during this midday peak hours.

But if you’re looking at photos and you want to emulate the soft light and rays peeking through from the background that you see on Instagram or Pinterest you will be looking at two times of day almost exclusively. Sunrise and sunset. There’s pros and cons to both and there isn’t necessarily a wrong answer but one of those two times of day may better suit your needs and situation.

Why should you elope at sunrise?

There’s a magic about sunrise that is slightly different from sunset and that is the quietness of the world around you before the rest of everyone else wakes up. Remember that feeling when you were a kid and you’d wake up before your parents and sneak downstairs to get in some morning cartoons with a bowl of Cookie Crisp…something that wasn’t necessarily a fulfilling breakfast item according to Mum 😉

That’s what it feels like to be out for a sunrise session.

So what are some of the benefits to sunrise specifically?


If you’re hoping to elope at some really iconic spaces crowds might be a huge problem but the choice of a sunrise session gives you the opportunity to get to those locations before many of those individuals and allows you more space and room to move around in without having to dodge individuals.


If you’re wishing to get married on top of the mountain you’re going to want to know in which direction it faces. If you can plan to get married on a mountaintop that faces the east then you’ll have the beautiful luck that as the sun first starts to rise the rays will be casted upon the mountaintops behind you first making it look on fire.

Colder temperatures

One of the number one concerns most Brides ask about when it comes to their elopement is about their makeup. How will it stay on? What if I sweat it off? Well, fortunately the coldest temperatures are in the wee hours of the morning so if you do need to hike or trek to a location for your ceremony or photos you’ll be spending most of your time in colder weather which will help the longevity of your makeup.

Early start

If you want your actual elopement ceremony and photos to be done privately but you still want to spend some time with friends and family celebrating over a shared meal or other activities then having a sunrise session is best because you can spend your morning privately and having that elopement intimacy but then take the remainder of the day, afternoon, evening, whatever you’d choose, to go out to dinner with loved ones or spend your time celebrating with them any way that you’d like.


Why should you elope at sunset?

Sunset is almost exclusively a romantic moment that’s highlighted in moves or music videos. There is a soft tenderness as those bits of warm rays hit your face and envelope you in their last embrace for the day. But the benefits aren’t just in that golden movie moment so lets talk about some of the benefits a sunset session has!

Sleeping in

Not everyone is a morning person and that is A-OK. When you choose to have a sunset session you can spend your morning sleeping in, having a delicious brunch, and spending the day at your leisure getting pampered and ready for the excitement you know the later part of the day will bring.


You may have some extra luck with having privacy at the location you choose. Families, especially those with small children, may not hang around towards the end of the day. This could especially be true during the summer when sunset isn’t until much much later in the evening and parents need to consider dinner time, bath time, and bedtimes. This would give you the opportunity to have most of the crowds filter out and you’re not having to fight for prime sunlight position.

Warmer temperatures

If you’re not a cold weather person then sunset is going to be more of the direction you’ll want to do. As the day goes on you’re giving it the ability to warm up so by the time the evening rolls around you’re experiencing some of the warmest temperatures of the day. This is great if you have a dress with no sleeves or no sort of layers to go over your look.

The timing of light

Sunset is the last bit of light at the very end of the day therefore you start a sunset session before the sun sets which gives you the benefit of getting warmed up to having a camera in front of you before the best of the light occurs. During a sunrise session the good light happens almost instantaneously but during a sunset session you have some time to get “warmed up” because the good light, the best light, won’t occur until the very end. Most folks aren’t used to being in front of the camera so it allows you time to find your groove, your comfortability, and feel your best by the time those soft golden rays kiss you.


Hopefully after reading this list you’ll be able to choose the time best suited for you and what you’re envisioning your elopement to look like. There’s technically no wrong answer but there are pros and cons to any choice. And to help you determine which choice is best for you I listed some tools below that you can utilize.

And if you still need some help determining the sunrise or sunset for your elopement day you can use THIS calculator!



Want to know which 5 vendors you should hire for your elopement? Check out THIS blog!

Want to know the differences between a wedding, intimate wedding, and elopement? Check out THIS blog!

Check out THIS Irish countryside inspired sunrise session!

Looking for an intimate stormy beach sunset session? Check out THIS blog!

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Should I have my photos taken at Sunrise or Sunset?

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