The hour immediately after sunrise, and the hour preceding sunset, is known to photographers as the golden hour. The photo above was taken in Hilton Head, SC at 07:00 in the morning, August 2014. It was taken with the oldest and cheapest lens in my bag. Go figure.
There are many technical reasons why this is an amazing time to shoot, however it all comes down to harnessing that rich, warm and beautiful light that wraps your Subject. It will reveal textures, shadows and provides additional depth to your images. If you shoot at other times of day, you will continue to get harsh and contrasty images that lack the warmth captured during the golden hour.
Weather is another a big factor in determining the best light for your photos. Snow, fog and thunderstorms provide unique lighting variables that can showcase your image. Getting to know the color of light, and the way it reflects from your Subject, can make a big difference in your photos.
“If I have any ‘message’ worth giving to a beginner it is that there are no shortcuts in photography.” – Edward Weston