I often get asked by my clients and sometimes other photographers why I shoot so late in the day, also known as the Golden Hour. For those of you who don't know, the Golden Hour is the last hour before sunset, or the first hour after sunrise. It got its name because it gives a beautiful golden glow. First I'd like to start off with why I don't shoot at other times of the day...
I have a few reasons why I don't shoot at other time of the day.
Reason #1 Why I Don't Shoot During Other Times of the Day: Blown out backgrounds. Midday sun makes it super difficult to make sure everything is properly exposed, because it is just so bright! To make sure you properly expose your subject (the most important part) it is very likely that by doing so you'll also blow out something in the background, which is very distracting. The lighting is also very harsh and unflattering. The image below is a perfect example of this. (Don't judge, this image is years old and I know it's horrendous, we all start somewhere right? Haha)
Lighting tip- if it there is no other time to shoot, have your client be on the edge of shade facing the light, this way the background behind them isn't over exposed. It also gives you great catch lights! I learned this after the above image...
Reason #2 Why I Don't Shoot During Other Times of the Day: Sun spots. Sun spots are the white spots all over the image below. They're super distracting and sometimes can be on important places, like the face, which can ruin an image. This image is also a great example of having distracting blown out areas in an image.
Lighting Tip- make sure you don't have sunspots on important areas. Sometimes just moving your subject the slightest can help remove them from important areas. You could also try holding a reflector (or anything really) in front of the area they're coming from to block them.
Reason #1 Why I Shoot in the Golden Hour: Soft light. The Golden Hour produces a beautiful, soft, golden light where shadows and highlights blend together so nicely. The light falls evenly all over the image leaving out harsh highlights and blown out areas. It gives the image a soft, dreamy feel.
Reason #2 Why I Shoot in the Golden Hour: Beautiful orange glow. During the Golden Hour this beautiful orange glow/haze is cast. It adds such a warm and inviting tone to an image and adds a touch of magic that can't be recreated elsewhere.
Reason #3 Why I Shoot in the Golden Hour: Sun flares. Sun flares add something so magical to images. They are always different and are so unique. Some people don't like them, but I LOVE them. I will move my whole shot just to capture one! Sure they can be added in post, but it is so not the same!
Reason #4 Why I Shoot in the Golden Hour: It is followed by a sunset. The Golden Hour is followed by my favorite time of the day, sunset. Shooting at the Golden Hour allows us to also shoot at sunset, which gives us beautiful photos with an extraordinary sky and spectacular colors.
The Golden Hour is just magical.
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