You can ask almost any photographer when their favorite time of day to photograph a session is and the answer you will likely get is "Golden Hour". There is good reason for this. The light at this time of day is soft, warm, and can have a really flattering effect. It creates a look that is so awesome, many photographers will schedule a session around golden hours of the day.
Golden hour gets it's name for the pleasing, warm, glowing light that glitters the earth with beautiful tones to make any subject standout.
Have you ever noticed while driving down the road an hour or so before sunset there is warm glow creating halos around the trees, buildings, soaking everything in a beautiful warm light and just have to stop and look at how amazing it is? Probably just me, LOL, but you have to admit, this is a gorgeous time of day! This is the golden hour. Look out for it 1 hour before the sunsets or one hour after the sunrises. Take note of how amazing everything seems to look at this time!
This is why us photographer's LOVE this time of day for portraits!
Portraits can be taken any time of day. In fact, gorgeous portraits can really be taken any time of day and a good photographer can make a magical session happen under any lighting condition with proper technique and skills. The Golden Hour just adds a little bit of mojo to your portraits that mother nature is so kind to deliver.
For a comparison, Here are some portraits that were taken outside of Golden Hours:
And here are some photos taken at Golden hour:
They are all beautiful photos! The golden hour photos of this dancer have that extra warmth that you just can't get during a mid-day session.
So we already established that golden hour is a beautiful time of day. But what happens on a cloudy overcast day or if the time of day to take advantage of this glorious light is not convenient? With proper lighting techniques we can simulate golden hour in some way, and while this may not be as perfect as mother nature, it offers an opportunity for us to get some of those warm backlit tones we look for in the golden hour.
In the Photos below using artifical lighting techniques I was able to simulate the warm glow of golden hours with ease. These photos were taking with a cloudy sky at about 4:00pm on a summer day in Florida. With proper lighting tricks we got some great lighting effect for this Seniors session!
One of the great things about shooting golden hour in the evening is capturing those amazing sunsets that follow. They are every bit as beautiful as golden hour and give a great opportunity for some amazing silhouettes against the colors of light before twilight, and to get creative with some external lighting effects to get some amazing atmospheric portraits that you are sure to love.
In the photos below we can how we used the sunset to our advantage for some amazing shots!
Hopefully this article has helped you get a better understanding of golden hour and the awesome effect it can have on your portraits. If you are looking for more information, check out our page on tips and ideas for your next portrait session! It is full of great information on topcs like, what to wear, accessorizing your outfit, and answer to other questions you may have! Thanks for visiting!
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434 Photography is a portrait photography studio based in Orlando.
We specialize in photographing High School Senior Portraits but we also enjoy photographing family portraits, headshots, elopements and small weddings.
We are available to photograph your next session anywhere in the Orlando area but we also love to travel.