Useful Golden Hour Photography Tips

Regardless of the type of photography you choose, the golden hour will add magic to your shots. I hope this article will inspire you to go outdoors and capture this unique moment with enthusiasm. Try out one or more of the photographic techniques listed below and let us know how it went.

Wonder what the golden hour means? Also known as the magic hour in photography, this unique moment in time has no definite duration. All we know is that it occurs a few minutes after sunrise and before sunset. Check the times of sunrise and sunset in your area and make sure you are not late. Let the sun charm you!

Golden Hour Landscape Photography Tips

Here’s how you can benefit from the golden hour for astonishing landscape shots:

1. Control Light, Enhance Colors, and Profit from the Reduced Contrast

Golden Hour photography

The greatest factors that affect the quality of landscape photographs are light conditions. But don’t worry! The golden hour is a photographer’s best friend.

During these particular moments of the day the colors you can capture are softer and more pronounced, but diffused at the same time. In terms of color temperatures, they are warmer, which means are more red/yellow toned because the daylight is redder compared to when the sun in high in the sky.

As regards contrast, the golden hour is also preferred by landscape photographers because the contrast is naturally reduced, so highlights are less likely to be overexposed.

2. Experiment with Backlighting into Your Pictures

Sun plays an important role in golden hour photography as it adds more dimension to the scenes you shoot. When the sun is low at the horizon everything into your image will look more dramatic. The light is less harsh than in plain daylight and shadows are less dark.

Now is the perfect moment to easily capture sun flares and add a spectacular effect to your landscape photos.

3. Play with Settings

Whether you have a professional device or a semi-professional DSLR, manual settings are essential. For stunning effects use a wide aperture and make sure you don’t overexpose your pictures. You can adjust ISO depending on how much light you work with (the lower the better) and set your exposure time under 1/8000ths of a second. Try the macro function as well to take some sharp amazing close-up snaps.

Golden Hour Urban Photography

Technically, the tips for landscape photography apply for urban photography too. But I hope city lover photographers will find these a few more tips useful:

1. Finding the Perfect Perspective

When it comes to urban photography as compared to landscape photography you add a special character into the story: the city with its streets, lights and diverse architectural styles. If you are looking for impressive, powerful shots during sunset, the city will offer you numberless favorable perspectives.

Whether you choose a wide angle or more focused detail, pay careful attention to lines and shapes as they are very important elements of the photographical composition. Each and every line has an impact on the viewer.

2. The Role of Shadows: Capturing Dynamic Scenes

The city during the golden hour is ideal for adding a dynamic effect to your shots. Shadows and silhouettes play a vital role. For astonishing results, try to take multiple shots and observe how light changes as the sun moves and how this affects the atmosphere you want to create.

 Golden Hour Portrait Photography

Portraits can greatly benefit from the magic hour as well. In portrait photography it is crucial to balance lighting across the subject’s face. That is why harsh lighting in the middle day is undesirable and photographers need special equipment to fill in strong shadows. Here’s what you should do to capture stunning golden hour portraits:

1. Play with Shadows and Rim Lighting

First, you can experiment with facing your models into and out of the shade for diverse and remarkable results. For instance, glowing effects such as rim lighting can be achieved naturally, by using the sun’s light as a foreground instrument.

Second, to capture the dreamy effect of light during the magic hour you can switch on a wide aperture.

2. Catch the Light in Your Subject’s Eyes

Make your subjects look more expressive by locking the focus on them and blurring the foreground. This will add depth and power to your pictures. Golden hour portraits have the power to steal smiles.

Golden Hour Wedding Photography


Wedding photographers have all the reasons to shoot during the golden hour. What other moment of the day can help you take breathtaking photographs for such romantic events?

Your artistic approach to wedding photography plays an essential role, but more important is your technical skill as the light will do all the necessary artistic tricks.

What I love at magic hour wedding photography is that particular golden feeling dim light adds to it. In order to achieve this warm, dreamy effect, place your subjects in front of the sun.

But if variety is your target, you can try both front lighting and back lighting. Make your subjects face the sun and you will get more pronounced colors and expressions.

Image sources:, pixabay

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