These days, being ready for outdoor photography is important. With most businesses limiting indoor activity due to Covid-19, outdoor photoshoots have become the new norm. And with that comes a new set of challenges, particularly around lighting.

When we photograph outdoors, it’s important to know the conditions we’re working with.  Weather apps can help us tell whether there are clouds, wind or precipitation, but they don’t tell you the best times to shoot, like Golden or Blue Hour.

There’s one app I rely on on a daily basis when it comes to shooting outdoors — PhotoPills. While most of you have probably heard of it (and if not, Levi Sim has a great roundup of the app), one thing that hasn’t been talked about much are the widgets that comes with it.

Lighting conditions at a glance

PhotoPills comes with a series of iOS and Android widgets you can add to your phone’s home screen for a quick glance at the conditions that are expected for the day. It offers five different widgets — Sun, Moon, Milky Way, a combination of Sun and Moon, and Plans.

Personally, I use the Sun widget. At its largest size, it tells you the sunrise and sunset time, as well as when Golden Hour and Blue Hour will be.

The Moon and Milky Way widgets show when the Galactic Center is visible, while the Plans widget helps you keep track of your upcoming photo plans that you’ve entered into the PhotoPills app.

How to add the PhotoPills widgets


First, download PhotoPills on the App Store for $9.99.

Then, you can enable the PhotoPills widgets by tapping and holding on one of the app icons on your home screen. Then click Edit Home Screen.

From here, click the + button in the upper left corner. This will bring up a widget gallery. You can either search for PhotoPills or swipe down until you see PhotoPills listed.

Finally, you’ll be presented with various different widget options, at different sizes. Once you find the one you want to use, all you have to click is Add Widget. It will be added to your home screen, and you can position it around your screen as you wish.


First, download PhotoPills on the Google Play Store for $9.99. In order for widgets to work on Android, PhotoPills has to be installed on your device’s internal storage.

To start, tap and hold on your phone screen. Then tap the Widgets button in the lower part of your screen.

Here, you can look for the PhotoPills widgets, and tap to see all of the options. Select the widget you want to u se, and reposition it where you wish.

The benefit

While PhotoPills is great for landscape shooters, it can also help you plan things like portraits for the right time of day. Be confident in your plans by checking PhotoPills before you schedule your photoshoot time. That will let you achieve gorgeous Golden or Blue Hour light, perfect for your subjects.