Lighting is something that no serious photographer could ever do without. As the top headshot photographer in Los Angeles, I can tell you firsthand just how crucial having the right lighting for my clients is to my work. Lighting controls the ways that we perceive colors, shapes, distance and warm or lack thereof from a portrait. This becomes all the more challenging and worthwhile when it pertains to natural lighting!

Natural lighting refers, for my work -- as the way that sunlight, the time of day, and the weather will affect the outcome of my headshots. For an experienced professional such as I Dino Mosley, this is an easy enough hurdle to manage!

First, when considering the way that sunlight will affect our work, we must first look into the foundations of sunlight itself. Yes, sunlight can be harsh and overbearing at times, but we have a big filter to help us defuse some of this harshness and use the sun to our advantage. This filter is simple known as the Earth’s atmosphere. Light that comes through this filter can take many different shades depending on the time of day and when reflected off of surface materials like water and the ground itself can give really amazing effects to our headshots. Light cannot be controlled easily, but can be worked with to provide the best result, a fact that L.A.’s best headshot photographer knows all too well. With the understanding of how light in general will affect us, we can now move on to knowing when the best time is to take our specific headshots.

For this next part, we will break the information up into four different stages of the day: Midday; Evening & Morning; “Golden Hour” & Sunrise/set; and Twilight, Dawn, Dusk.


Midday is perhaps the least forgiving portion of the day to take our headshots. The light at this time of day does not scatter or diffuse through the atmosphere, and there is little to no reflected light from the ground or other surface matter. This overbearing, straight downward lighting often leads to a bland, neutral headshot that will not necessarily bring out the best features in my clients. The goal I have in mind when doing these headshots is to make the subject matter more 3-dimensional. Midday washes that away.

Evening and mid-morning, on the other hand, is much simpler and more predictable to manage. It is at this time that we are able to see cast shadows that make my subjects more 3-dimensional and bring out their most important features. This is a very good time to take headshots and ads warmth to the newly found dimensions in my subjects. However, though this time may seem ideal it can be very neutralizing and leave my subjects appearing ordinary depending on their complexion and wardrobe. So, remember -- where it can seem safest is not always the best option.


In the “Golden Hour” and during the times of sunrise and sunset we can really start to play around with drastically varied lighting. The hour just before sunset and just after sunrise is referred to as the “Golden Hour, within which we may find the most desirable time for taking our headshots. Take it from the best headshot photographer, Dino Mosley: the horizontal light here gives my subjects more of a 3-dimensional look, longer shadows and a much warmer glow. Sunrises and sunsets are great times too, but can vary greatly due to the tiniest changes in weather.

Finally, we go to the wee hours of the morning and night: twilight, dusk and dawn. This is typically thirty minutes or so before or after sunrise or sunset. This will give us the opportunity to utilize the lack of direct lighting that we will have bouncing through the atmosphere. We will be able to use the bluish-reddish hues to give the subject a more relaxed and peaceful visage than any other time of the day! The only drawback to this time would be that it takes more care and precision to set up correctly for it. That, fortunately, will not be a problem for a headshot photographer of Dino Mosley caliber!

In short, when booking your headshot consider what time of day will work best for you and let me know what type of look that you are going for. With the information that we now have at our fingertips, it is my sincerest hope that we can more effectively plan and prepare to have amazing and timely headshots that will help to propel your career forwards! BOOK NOW


Dino Mosley