The Golden Hour in Photography is often called the “magic hour,” the first hour of light after sunrise and the last hour before sunset. The exact duration of lighting varies depending on the season. One of the reasons why photographers love these times are because of the effect you get while photographing your subject. The Sun causes soft, diffused lighting that produces flattering lighting compared to midday when the Sun is on top, creating harsh lighting.
How is it used?
During the golden hour, you want to look for the direction in which light falls onto your subject(s). Usually, the light falls from the side, and the direction will create a flattering effect and the scene around them. This is where the photographer makes the magic by illuminating the subjects and creating amazing images.
Here are some tips for shooting during the gold hour.
Your camera settings will differ from the typical settings you usually use for other photo sessions, so keep in mind you will have to close down your aperture.
1. You will first want to find a location that will give you filtering opportunities. For example, the ideal “golden light” would be 10min before the sunset and about 10min after the Sun goes below the horizon. Make sure you scout a location that will allow you to filter the Sun with trees, shrubs, or buildings. That way, at the beginning of your session, you can position your subjects behind a shrub or tree, drastically reducing the amount of light entering your lens.
2. Position your subject(s) in a flattering matter that will create a nice edge light on your subjects. You might have to adjust your angle if you see that the light is not hitting straight on, which can cause lens flare or haze. It all depends on the effect you want to create.
3. Don’t stop shooting; you must work quickly and efficiently. For instance, a photo you took in the first five minutes will look different 20 minutes later. You want to capture as many images as possible and remember to be an Artist. You have warm glowing light that allows you to be creative with your photography, so have fun!
Photographing during the golden hour is probably one of my favorite times to shoot. There is something magical about it, and even though you have a short window, you can capture some fantastic images!