Okay guys, let’s talk light. This one’s a biggie for me.
I am very particular about light. A sun-seeker if you will. I love to just observe the way light touches everything, the way it falls all around us, the way it tinkles on someone’s hair, how it changes the way the ocean looks, everything. And then take advantage of those juicy pockets of light to photograph in!
No matter how much good advice you receive about your photo technique, how to post process photos, or how to compose a shot, you must remember that photography is all about light. And the quality of light is the one thing that can make the difference between an “ok” photograph and a “super awesome” one. Truly, if there’s one thing that can make or break a photograph more than any other, it’s lighting.
What is golden hour?
As a natural light photographer, my very favorite time of day to shoot a session is definitely sunrise or sunset. The first hour of light after sunrise, and the last hour of light before sunset is what’s known as “golden hour” or “magic hour.” You can check online to find out when the sun rises and sets each day where you are.
What makes it so magical?
Well there’s a good reason — several reasons, actually — why golden hour is also known as magic hour. During golden hour (both sunrise + sunset), the sun is very low in the sky. When a light source is larger and closer relative to the subject, soft, diffused light is produced. Soft light is preferable for virtually any subject, as it doesn’t create harsh shadows or blown-out highlights. And don’t forget that delicious warm, golden glow. It’s so gorgeous!
Golden hour produces such a soft, warm, dimensional, and just flat-out magical light source. It adds a quality to images that can’t be replicated no matter how many actions, filters, or textures you use when post processing. Best of all? It’s totally free, and comes around almost every single day. Twice, in fact!
^^both of these were taken just yesterday — right here in gorgeous Naples! One at sunrise the other at sunset. Our hometown is pretty awesome.^^
Take advantage of sun flare.
Sun flare is that awesome glowy, rainbowy thing that happens when light hits your lens. It works especially well during golden hour, when the sun is at a great angle, and has lots of color to play with. To get flare, just play around with how much sunlight actually hits your lens.
The golden hour rule can be applied to any type of outdoor photography. And shooting during this magical time is without a doubt the one tip that has made the biggest difference in my professional photography. All of my photo sessions with clients while I have been home these past few days have taken place during golden hour. I am currently culling through my session images and drooling over so many of them because of how beautiful golden hour can make a photograph. It’s amazing!
If you’ve been having trouble finding good light for your photos, definitely try golden hour!
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