Daylight Saving Time: Tips for Photographers

November 2, 2017

Daylight Saving Time: Tips for Photographers

As a quick and friendly reminder, Daylight Saving Time ends this weekend on Sunday, November 5 at 2:00 A.M. Daylight Saving Time has had a long and interesting history of how it helps to conserve energy and to maximize the usable hours of daylight in the day. But what does that mean for your photography business?  And what’s more—what does it mean to your clients? Here are some things to keep in mind as we turn back our clocks this weekend.

The current daylight saving period was established with the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which went into effect in 2007. As a result, most Americans and Canadians now spring forward (turn clocks ahead, losing an hour) on the second Sunday in March (at 2:00 A.M.) and fall back (turn clocks back, gaining an hour) on the first Sunday in November (at 2:00 A.M.).

But now, let’s think about what that means for your photography clients.

How Daylight Saving Time Affects Timelines

If you have a wedding that falls right after Daylight Saving ends… make sure they double check what time the sun sets. A wedding that falls on that first Sunday in November can face a very, VERY early sunset. As a quick example—sunset on the east coast on this Saturday, November 4 occurs at 6:19 P.M. But Sunday’s sunset is a staggeringly early 5:18 P.M. If your bride hasn’t thought about this, be her hero and make sure to let her know.

Similarly, those beautiful golden hours right around sunset shift for portraits. If you’re having a fall engagement session or family session, keep that time change in mind. Your sunrise and sunset lights shift an hour as winter’s shadows keep growing.

Melissa’s Story

Fotoskribe writer Melissa Dydyn shared this cautionary tale on her own wedding:

My husband and I dreamed of a fall wedding. When we happened upon our venue, we fell in love. It was perfect. We were even more excited to grab the first weekend in November. It also happened to be the first weekend of their off-season pricing. Victory, right?



We didn’t think it all the way through.  It wasn’t until we were planning our wedding day timeline out with our wedding photographers that the question was posed, “Hey… when DOES daylight saving end this year?”

Lucky us. It ended at 2 a.m. on the day we were going to be married. Everything on our wedding timeline was based around a 5 p.m. ceremony. But with this new information, 5 p.m. was going to be dark. And not just a little dark. We were up in the Catskill Mountains, and when it got dark it was DARK. So, our whole wedding timeline needed to lose an hour, or we were going to have to move our ceremony inside.

I didn’t want my ceremony inside, so we had to get super creative with hair, makeup, and setup to get everything done. Luckily, my wedding photographers, Sam and Dave from Arius Photography are rock stars. They were able to help us figure it all out, get everything in that we wanted to do, and I still had my outdoor sunset ceremony.

It was freezing, we chopped half of the ceremony out, but it happened thanks to their flexibility and quick thinking.

Planning Ahead

Here are a few quick tips on how to not let Daylight Saving Time catch you off guard. Planning ahead will help you to make sure you aren’t racing the light.

Be the expert:

Help your clients navigate the pitfalls of a wedding or session that gets close to the darker times of the year. Make sure to keep an eye on to be aware of the times the sun and moon will rise and set.

Have a backup plan

If there’s a chance the timeline leaves no light left for portraits, get creative with where you can take them. Scout the venue ahead of time to get inspiration for indoor locations and spots that lend themselves to pictures in low light. Think about what equipment you will need to make your own light. For a little inspiration, here’s a post from our friends at ShootDotEdit with their Top 5 Tips for using Off Camera Lighting

Check your Camera Clocks.

Make sure that your devices are all set to automatically adjust for Daylight Saving Time. Otherwise, when you are looking at all the hundreds of images from your devices (and your second shooter’s devices) your time stamps might be off. In order to make culling and editing the whole job easier, take a moment to synch all the times across your devices.

Your clients look to you as an expert. Having this information for them and knowing to plan ahead to look out for their interests will help you be the hero of the day. Don’t get caught in the dark! Make sure you enjoy that extra hour of sleep and don’t let that hour catch you by surprise.