Golden Hour Photography

One of the most popularĀ (and, in my opinion, one of the best) times of day to take photos is during the golden hour. The golden hour is the period of time, usually an hour, before the sun sets. The sky is often a warm golden or orange color, which gives photos taken during that time an awesome look. Popular golden hour photo types include selfies, portraits, and silhouettes. There’s a lot you can do with this kind of lighting, so play around with it and find what works for you. In this post, I will show some examples of photos I have taken during the golden hour and give some tips for taking photos during that time.

Be ready to go ahead of time
In my experience, the golden hour comes up fast and ends before you know it. Plan ahead and make sure you have everything you need (camera, any other people you want to take photos of/with, etc.). If you are traveling to another location you aren’t currently at, make sure you give yourself enough time to get there. To know exactly when the golden hour will start in your area, visit golden-hour.com.

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Shutter Speed: 1/800
F-stop: 5.6
ISO: 800

Have your subject completely facing the sun to avoid shadows
This tip doesn’t just apply for golden hour, but also when shooting in any type of bright light. If the sun (or source of light) is only one side of the subject, a shadow will be cast on their other side. To avoid these unwanted shadows, have your subject face the sun completely. If the subject of your photo is not a person, for example, a flower, angle yourself so that the sunlight spreads evenly across the whole thing.

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Shutter Speed: 1/125
F-stop: 5.6
ISO: 100

Position the sun behind your subject
As nice as the bright golden light is during the golden hour, it is often too bright for a person to face directly without squinting. If you are photographing a person and they are having a hard time posing while facing the sunlight, have them turn around and position the sun behind them. When done correctly, this can create a nice glow behind them while still illuminating their face. Having the sun behind your subject can also turn them into a silhouette, so try experimenting with that as well.

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Shutter Speed: 1/125
F-stop: 5.6
ISO: 400

Experiment with different objects, angles, and shadows
The photo below is one of my favorites that I’ve taken. As I was photographing other things in my backyard during the golden hour, most likely my dog, I noticed that the shadow on the side of the house created an illusion of two lights. Take a look around you during the golden hour for unexpected photo opportunities- you never know what you will find!

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Shutter Speed: 1/500
F-stop: 6.3
ISO: 400

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