Golden hour or as some refer to it, “Magic Hour”, is the portion of time just after sunrise or just before sunset. The sun is on the horizon and this creates a diffused, soft light.
Fun Fact: Golden Hour isn’t always just an hour. The closer you are to the equator, the length of time is shortened. If you’re further away, you’ll have a longer Hour.
I know…for a lot of you, daytime might be easier and that’s ok! But this Golden Hour stuff isn’t just a fad. The soft lighting does wonders for any shadowing, there’s no blown out highlights or speckling.
The image above is one I LOVE and was taken around 5:00 pm during the summer months and would be considered mid-day during the summer months. At that time, the sun is still kind of high and will create some blown highlights, harsh shadowing, squinting and some color casting.
This image was taken at sunset and as you can see, the harsh lighting, color casting and showing is gone. The sky isn’t blown out either so you get a nice, even, diffused lighting.
So if you’re a photographer starting out and trying to understand golden hour and all it has to offer – get out there and experiment. If you’re a client wondering why your photographer is encouraging you to schedule your family session around sunset (meaning the kids will be up past their bedtime and you’ll have to rearrange their naps), trust them. Rescheduling naps and rearranging meals one or two days out of the year to have gorgeous portraits that just glow and look AMAZING printed on HUGE canvases on your home walls are totally worth it. If you want the best photographer in business, go there.