The hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset are known in the photography world as Golden Hour. These two magical times are a photographers dream as the light has a beautiful soft, golden feel which when using in your images creates that glow that no other time of day does.
For me, lighting is everything. Natural light is by far the best kind to use but you need to understand when and where you will benefit from it most. Here are 5 reasons why it is crucial to your photography:
The colours - No amount of retouching or editing in photoshop can give you those warm golden tones that this time of day can. Especially the hour before sunset.
No unwanted shadows - the trouble with shooting at midday, apart from the harsh white light, is the unwanted shadows you get. These can be lifted in Lightroom after but only so far. Golden hour kicks these shadows to the side and instead creates depth by the contrast in golden warm tons.
Backlighting - Another reason not to shoot at midday . Get your model to stand just in front of the sun and start snapping. You can highlight different shapes of their body, use it to shine through their hair, or just to create a bit more of a dramatic effect.
Quieter and Calmer - I usually find that Golden Hour times are a lot less quieter than normal. The sea is calmer, the wind is weak and there are less people which means cleaner photography. (it also means no one to get in your way or unwated hair stuck to the models lipgloss)
The overall feel - Golden hour to me makes any image feel more magical. It’s a time I love to play with lighting, shadows and silhouttes and really get creative with my work. Not only do models look great at this hour but landscapes are fun to play around with too. Maybe even try a long exposure and get that sea mist rolling in and that golden light shining through.
The image below is one of my favourites I have taken during Golden Hour.
Model: Beth Le Cheminant
Camera: Canon 5d Mkiii