If you would like to really improve your photos, you should shoot mostly during the “Golden Hour.” This is about 20 minutes before sunrise/sunset to 20 minutes after sunrise/sunset. At these times you will get softer but more dramatic images. This includes sunrise/sunset images, better color and fewer shadows.
If there is a particular subject you would like to photograph or if it’s an outdoor portrait, check a weather app on your cell phone to determine the best times.
The top photo was taken a few minutes after sunrise at Chaumette Winery in St. Genevieve. The bottom photo was taken about 5 or 10 minutes after sunset, following a tip I learned from another photographer: Wait! That is, don’t snap the picture of the sunset just as the sun is on the horizon. If you wait, you will see subtle colors and lighting from the sun past the horizon making a more interesting picture. By waiting I was able to get a better reflection off the lake plus the nice silhouette of the hills surrounding the lake.
For more information on taking these types of photos, see my photography tips on this page.
The bottom photo was taken at Devils Pool Restaurant at Big Cedar Lodge. I was having dinner out the deck and as the sun started to set, a number of people came to the railing to take photographs (with iPhones). I waited until the sun had set, put the camera on the railing and took this shot. Click on either photo to see a larger version.