The Best Time to Take Photographs: The Golden Hour

Last week we shared about the 6 tips for finding the best lighting outdoors.  If you missed it, you can find the post here. Today we are going to talk specifically about the glorious "GOLDEN HOUR." If you haven't heard of this term, "golden hour" refers to the time shortly after sunrise and before sunset during which daylight is softer than when the sun is higher in the sky during the day.  

We could get super technical and talk to you all about how sun travels through a greater depth of atmosphere, reducing the intensity of the direct light, BUT we won't bore you with this type of info. Our main goal is to make the information we share on our blog simple, concise, and easy to put into practice.

In the middle of the day, the bright overhead sun can create unwanted strong highlights and dark shadows.  Because the contrast is less during the golden hour, shadows appear less dark, and highlights are less likely to be overexposed.

Example of golden hour,  “The Best Time to Take Photographs: The Golden Hour”  by  Kindred Photography Workshop  , photo by  Kacey Gilpin

Example of golden hour, “The Best Time to Take Photographs: The Golden Hour” by Kindred Photography Workshop , photo by Kacey Gilpin

We often get the question, "How do you get that light and airy feel to your images?"  Golden Hour plays a big part in this.  By shooting when the lighting is best you are more able to manipulate your settings on your camera to achieve that light and airy look.  

Example of golden hour,  “The Best Time to Take Photographs: The Golden Hour”  by  Kindred Photography Workshop  , photo by  Hazel and Haze Photography

Example of golden hour, “The Best Time to Take Photographs: The Golden Hour” by Kindred Photography Workshop , photo by Hazel and Haze Photography

If you are unsure of when "golden hour" typically occurs, it's safe to say the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset.  There are lots of apps that can tell you when "golden hour" is, our favorite is the SOL app. As many of you know, the sun goes down at different times of the year. With this app, you can input the date, and it will tell you exactly when lighting is best! Win!

Example of golden hour,  “The Best Time to Take Photographs: The Golden Hour”  by  Kindred Photography Workshop  , photo by  Hazel and Haze Photography

Example of golden hour, “The Best Time to Take Photographs: The Golden Hour” by Kindred Photography Workshop , photo by Hazel and Haze Photography

One last tip we'll share with you today...since the golden hours have a lot of warm colored light, if you leave your camera on auto white balance, the camera will adjust its colors to be a little more blue to compensate. If you like the warmer tones, try shifting your white balance setting to "cloudy" or "shade" and it will bring back those warm tones.  

Example of golden hour,  “The Best Time to Take Photographs: The Golden Hour”  by  Kindred Photography Workshop  , photo by  Kacey Gilpin

Example of golden hour, “The Best Time to Take Photographs: The Golden Hour” by Kindred Photography Workshop , photo by Kacey Gilpin

Remember, the golden hour is not sunset or sunrise, but shortly before and after those times when your subject still has direct light falling on it.  The magical light will transform your photos from ordinary to extraordinary.  It's all about the light!

We hope these tips were helpful when working with the glorious Golden Hour!  We can't wait to see how you use the tips when practicing at home. Don't forget to tag @kindrephotographyworkshops on IG, we love sharing your work! 

With Love,

Angela & Kacey