What is the Golden Hour?
Even the word sounds magical, Golden Hour, with no mystery of what the light at that time of the day will be like. Golden Hour photos are definitely the in photography trend right now. Golden Hour is the hour just before sunset when the sun is low in the sky, casting a soft golden glow onto everything it touches.
Why take photos during the Golden Hour?
Portrait photographers usually favour shooting at this time of day as it’s easier to get everyone looking at the camera. There’s no eye squinting and this light also prevents deep shadows under the subjects’ eyes. The soft light is very forgiving, giving everyone a softer, even-toned skin complexion. I’m sure this is actually why we all like to have our photo taken at this time of day, soft skin and no awful overhead lighting to cause dark, under eye rings. If you are taking photos in the midday sun you can read this post on how to tackle the midday bright sun for your photos.
How to make the most of the Golden Hour for photos.
For us, living on the west coast of Mauritius we get incredibly beautiful sunsets day after day. And so everyone wants their photo taken on the beach during the Golden Hour. Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? It is. Shooting straight into the setting sun is tricky. Try these helpful tips:
- Most important, don’t be late for your Golden Hour photo session. Once the sun starts to set, the light quality diminishes quickly.
- Be ready and waiting for that special light, it doesn’t last long. For most people, it takes 15 minutes or so to relax into having their photos taken. So arrive early and get the pre-photo nerves over with before the sky turns golden. Try different poses; face the setting sun, turn your back to the sun orstand side-on.
- Continue taking photos after the sun has sunk below the horizon for another 10 minutes or so. Sometimes this light called the Blue Hour can give an even prettier effect.
Golden Hour tips if you are the person taking the photos
- Until the sun is just above the horizon keep it behind your friends. Not only will this stop harsh contrast between highlights and shadows but it will also give you that beautiful backrim lighting that everyone is hunting for, where the outline of your friend’s hair or body is glowing in light.
- If you know you’re going to be the photographer at Golden Hour, a little trick is to wear a white top. Your top will act as a light reflector bouncing light back into your friends’ faces.
- Ideally you want something to filter the light, a bush, large rocks, some trees.
- If you can’t find anything to filter then use your friends body to block the light. There is a good how to video here on Creative live.
- Golden hour is the perfect time for dust. Actually we love dust at this time of day. Suddenly something so mundane becomes magical.
- Click onto the Golden Hour website to find out exactly when the golden hour is in your area. It’s very easy to use, simply move this sun symbol over your area and a pop up box will give you the exact time for you.
Luckily this beautiful time of day comes everyday with each day being slightly different from the next. Which makes it perfect for practicing and playing around with when it comes to your photography skills.
Enjoy and send me any comments or queries you have.
Next time up for photography tips I will give you some ideas on improving your composition.