I'm often asked what's the best time of the day to photograph landscapes, and if we should aim for a certain times or days. I don’t believe that there’s good or bad light. Light is just an aspect (although a very big aspect) of your photo and should be used as a tool to create the feeling you’re trying to achieve.
Have a think of how you’d like to make the viewer feel when they’re looking at your photo and how different lighting scenarios make you feel when you see it eg harsh sunlight, sunrise, overcast, etc
If you’re trying to make a location look dramatic, maybe you’d want to choose a time when the clouds are stormy and make it high contrast black and white. If you’d like a location to look calm maybe you’d choose an overcast day where the light is softer. I choose to photograph most of my locations in the golden light just after sunrise or before sunset to make the locations look bright and radiant and have a positive feel.
Here's a quick rundown of different lighting scenarios on a sunny day
Sunrise/Sunset - shooting with the sun on your back:
Soft golden light with a subdued, positive and calm feeling
Photographing during the day:
flatter light, a bit more of an 'everyday' photo but can still be used to create bright and vibrant photos
Photographing at sunrise or sunset - shooting towards the sun:
Impactful, powerful, dramatic with golden light
Here's a great app called Sun Position that I use to find out when to shoot a location to get the type of light you're after which will affect the feeling of your photo.
Every photographer though has their own style and over time you’ll be able to hone in and specialise on the style that suits you and the style that you want to be known for photographing. Most of all you'll be able to have fun experimenting photographing in different types of light and see how they affect the mood of the photo.
This is an excerpt from my eBook which can be downloaded below