Light Matters. And Here's Why.
I’m about to be super honest in this blog post. When we first got to Nice, I… I really didn’t like it. We stepped out of the train station and started to pull our three bags, stroller, car seat, and baby the few blocks to our Airbnb. I felt uncomfortable and out of sorts. I felt like I just wanted to go back to Paris, to Scotland, to Ireland—anywhere that would make me feel cozy and safe. You’re probably wondering what could possibly make me not like this gorgeous place or maybe you’re not as you’ve already read the title.
This place has water so beautiful, I can only describe it as looking like aqua colored gummy bears. Weird description, I know, but it was so turquoise, so beautiful. And the architecture is far from ugly. The terra cotta tiled roof tops and mixed with the more recognizable French architecture had me swooning. Add in the foliage, and bougainvillea, and there’s nothing not to like about this place. So why didn’t I love it when I stepped out of the train station? The light.
We got to Nice in the middle of the afternoon, my least favorite time of day. Maybe I’ve always known I was going to be a photographer or maybe I’m just weird, but the middle of the day has always made me feel off, especially on a bright and sunny day. The sun sits directly above us and casts shadows that can make a place and people look on the harsh side. Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely positives about the middle of the day, but when I want to arrive in a new place, my favorite time to arrive is golden hour, that time within two hours of sunset where the sun sits lower in the sky and allows the shadows to stretch out to the side rather than sitting right below us. I also really love sunrise. The same thing applies- soft light, shadows that don’t sit right under our eyes or necks.
These two times of day are also the times I always, always suggest for outdoor portrait sessions and weddings. As an added bonus to everything I’ve already said, the pictures come out incredibly beautiful during the golden hour and sunrise time frames.
So, once we’d walked around a bit, waited for the Airbnb manager and picked my sister up from the bus station, the light was gorgeous and streaming sideways through the buildings. I fell in love with Nice right then. I spent the entire rest of the time we were there taking photos every evening until I had no light left. I probably have way too many images of the sunset because it was that incredible.
I’ve thrown together some images of Nice and Monaco at various points in the day. You can see how all the images have a different feeling to them. My favorites of the group were taken later in the day, but the midday ones are still pretty. That’s the beauty of film and a story for a different blog post.
PS: if you must have a wedding ceremony or portrait session in the middle of the day, don’t worry! You can still have a beautiful day and beautiful photos of it. Try to find out of there is a spot with some shade or talk to your photographer and wedding planner about your options.