We all think sunrise or sunset is beautiful. The different colours you get in the sky are breathtaking! That's why it's called the magic hour of the day or the golden hour in photography. The golden hour is that short period after sunrise and before sunset. In this hour you get beautiful shadow play because the shadows change quickly. The light at this hour can add a lot of depth to the image, or give your photo just the softness you are looking for. In this blog, we will give you tips on how to take the most beautiful photos during the golden hour.
If you want to shoot during the golden hour, it is good to check when the sun rises or sets. You can do this by googling or by downloading an app. Useful apps are:
Will you be shooting on location? If so, leave on time so you arrive at your destination before the golden hour. Half an hour in advance is sufficient. This allows you to look around and explore the place and, who knows, you might see a scene, composition or place you like better than the one you originally thought of. Also, consider in what season you want to take the picture. For example, winter is great for taking a picture of the sunrise because you don't have to get out of bed as early and chances are you'll have beautiful fog. Summer, on the other hand, is perfect for photographing sunsets. The weather is beautiful, and you don't have to skip your meal to capture that pretty picture.
"You get beautiful shadow play because the shadows change quickly."
The light emitting from the sun during the golden hour is soft and not as bright. Softer light means you are able to look towards the sun without a lot of discomfort. In addition, you don't have to deal with harsh shadows. Because the light changes quickly, you do need to keep a close eye on your ISO settings. You may need to correct your settings from time to time. If there's a bit of cloudiness, light will be reflected. The reflected light produces beautiful colours! Without clouds, the colours are limited and your photo quickly becomes dull. Do you want some extra sparkle in your photos? Lens flares are beautiful during the golden hour. These flares occur because you have internal reflections in your lens. You can create flares by tilting your camera slightly or by using an UV filter.
And when the sun is down
The sun is down. You're done. Or are you? Stay a little longer. You will be rewarded with beautiful colours! Sometimes the colours are even more beautiful than during the golden hour itself. Now is the time to play with shutter speed, this allows you to create motion blur. For example, when you are around water using a slow shutter speed will create movement and make the water look like it’s flowing. Make sure you have a good tripod though, otherwise your photo’s are likely to turn out blurry. The beauty of shooting near water is that you actually see the sun disappear behind the horizon. In addition, water reflects the colours in the air. If the air is still too bright, you can use filters. Filters bring out your subject nicely, while darkening the sky slightly.
The best way to shoot during the golden hour is to just do it. Get out there! Discover new places and be seduced by what the magic hour has to offer! The golden hour has its charms in every season.