19 Mar / Professional Headshots: What’s the Best Time of Day for an Outdoor Shoot?

professional headshots outdoor shoot

Many businesspeople and companies choose to have their professional headshots taken outdoors. This can be a smart decision for a variety of reasons. San Francisco boasts excellent weather most of the year and an abundance of unique beauty spots that lend personality and character to any photo. Outdoor locations also influence how your headshots will be perceived by your eventual audience online and in print. They give the impression of outside-the-box thinking and approachability, so if you’re in the tech industry or another creative field, these locations would be perfect.

What’s the Best Time of Day for Outdoor Professional Headshots?

Having your headshots taken outside means that you have to take a number of factors into consideration that you wouldn’t have to in a studio. A studio is a controlled environment, whereas anything can happen in the great outdoors. One easy way to get a handle on nature is to choose your timing wisely. Here are some things you’ll need to keep in mind.


Lighting is one of the most important aspects of any photo shoot. In the studio, the lighting can be controlled, but when heading outdoors you need to choose the right time of day to find soft, flattering lighting that is perfect for headshots. This usually happens in the late afternoon and early evening, starting around 2 pm.


If you tell your photographer you’d like to have your headshots taken outside, don’t be surprised if he or she asks how long your hair is. Wind can be a pesky problem in outdoor shoots, so if you have long hair, you’ll be best off choosing a time with as little wind as possible. In San Francisco, this means planning your headshot session for late morning, around 11 am.


Wind is typically the most pressing problem involving weather, but other weather conditions can sneak up just as easily. For example, if you’re want to have your staff outdoors in formal business attire, you’ll need to think about the temperature. Choosing a mid-afternoon shoot in the summer might result in sweaty, uncomfortable headshots!

Try to plan your shoot at a time of year when the weather is dependable, and if you need your headshots by a deadline, make sure to plan with enough time in advance to cover the possibility of a weather delay.


We’re not just talking rush hour on the highway but also foot traffic. If you’ve chosen to have your headshots taken in a local beauty spot such as a park, you’ll want to avoid weekends, evenings, and lunch hours if you hope to stay away from crowds.

Environmental shots in outdoor locations like the city center or outside your office building can be made more difficult by traffic as well. 11 am and 2 pm, again, would be perfect times for these areas as they are times when urban centers are most empty. And lastly, don’t forget about tourists! July and August are popular months for tourists in San Francisco, so you might want to avoid having your professional headshots taken in high traffic zones at this time of year.



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810 Gonzalez Drive, Suite 4F
San Francisco, CA 94132


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