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How to Take Pictures During the Golden Hour

When starting out with photography, every beginner quickly faces the fact that lighting is incredibly important factor of a beautiful picture.

Photographers start to develop preferences regarding lighting, which I like to call “Lighting Rules”.

Click here for 5 lighting rules that will transform your photography.

One rule that almost all photographers can agree on is that photographing during the Golden Hour provides one of the best and most beautiful lighting scenarios.

What is the Golden Hour?

The golden hour, sometimes referred to as the “Magic Hour”, typically takes place when the sun is just barely in the sky- either early in the morning (within an hour of sunrise) or in the evening (within an hour of sunset).

During these times, the sun is soft and warm. It provides ideal lighting for your pictures that helps colors pop, features stand out, and backgrounds glow.

The golden hour is a great time to take portraits. It gives a soft flow to your subjects, provides minimal shade spots on faces, and will allow for natural expressions, free of squints.

It is also a great time for landscapes, group shots, and candid shots.

How to Take Pictures During the Golden Hour

Once you learn the basics, your golden hour pictures will look beautiful and professional- no matter what your skill level is.

Light Placement

The great thing about photographing during the golden hour is that you can almost do no wrong in regards to light placement.

Unlike harsh, mid-day sun, you have a lot of flexibility regarding what direction your like is coming from.

You can have the sun to the back of your subject, which provides a golden glow to your background.

Also, you do not have to search for shaded spots to avoid harsh shadows. You can use the yellow light to accent your pictures.

Camera Settings

Depending on the subject of your photography, you may need to adjust your camera settings, but here are some general guidelines for shooting during the golden hour.

If you need help understanding your camera settings, click here for a super beginner guide to your camera settings or dive deeper into each camera setting here.

  • Aperture: set your F-stop low. This will give a soft glow to the background. If you are photographing one subject, set it around F=3, and if you are photographing more than one subject, try F=5.
  • Shutter speed: set your shutter speed to around 1/150 s. If you are photographing moving subjects (like children), try a little faster – around 1/250 s.
  • ISO- ideally, you want your ISO to be at 100 or 200. However, I always adjust ISO AFTER I have chosen my F-stop and shutter speed; therefore, you can increase it or decrease it as needed.

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Final Thoughts

Whether you are new to photography or an expert, use this classic and timeless photography hack to take professional looking pictures.

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Sunday 14th of June 2020

Such great tips! Love all your pictures. Thanks so much for sharing!

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