We’re lucky enough to experience golden hour not once, but twice in a day! The first is right after sunrise and the second is the last hour before sunset.
Fun fact-it’s also known as magic hour!
Obviously, anyone can enjoy golden hour! Pro-tip for photographers, you have to be prepared and sometimes work quickly to utilize the time you have. Strangely, golden hour isn’t always an hour. Its length is based on where you’re located in the world and the time of year since the sun’s position changes.
There’s just something about it, Golden Hour “hits different”, and it can help photographers produce the most beautiful portraits. If the timing is right, subject(s) can be photographed in the direct light and get some pretty dramatic effects. It took me a little practice to get my exposures dialed in for this scenario, but once I did, I couldn’t get enough of it!
Photographing your subject(s) with the sun behind them is also an interesting approach and can enhance your photographs in a couple of different ways-first, you may get a nice glowing rim light around your subject, and second, it’s really wonderful to see that warm, glorious bokeh coming through the trees.
You may even choose to adjust your camera settings so that your subject(s) become silhouettes. It’s really all about their position to the light and the effect you want.
Photographers, here’s something you may want to try. Once I became comfortable photographing in direct light during golden hour, it was time to add prisms into my creative process. The results are fairly unpredictable sometimes, but I don’t mind and I love experimenting!
The reason photographers love golden hour so much is because the light is less intense and has a warmer appearance; because the sunlight is low in the sky, it becomes diffused by the Earth’s atmosphere, which makes it softer. It’s truly my favorite time of day, with or without a camera in my hands.
I couldn’t write about golden hour without mentioning blue hour. Have you heard of it? It’s right before the morning’s golden hour and right after the late afternoon’s golden hour. It’s a pretty challenging part of the day to photograph in because of the lack of light, but it can produce some wonderfully moody results. (Blue hour is somewhat of a misnomer, but that info is for another post!)
Golden hour definitely “hits different”. Talk to your photographer about using this time of day if you’re someone wanting to schedule a portrait session. Photographers, if you haven’t photographed during golden hour, I strongly encourage you to try it. It’s nothing short of magical!