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This post was most recently updated on January 8th, 2023

Have you ever wondered why some photos look great even though they were taken during the wrong time of day? Or maybe you’ve noticed that certain subjects seem to pop out at night while others don’t.

Well, it’s because light changes throughout the day and the golden hour is the perfect time to capture those moments.

Blue hour photography is a technique where photographers take pictures at sunset or sunrise. This method has become very popular over the years, especially since smartphones became ubiquitous and photography has become more widespread and easy to access.

It’s important to understand the concept of blue hour photography before you start taking pictures. In this article, we’ll explain what the golden hour is and how to use it to your advantage.

We’ve also included a short FAQ to define some of the more technical terms included in this article.

The Golden Hour: What Is It And Why Should You Care?

For us to fully grasp the concept of the blue hour, let’s first talk about the golden hour.

The golden hour is the period between the sun going down and the sun coming up. During this time, there are two types of light – direct sunlight and indirect sunlight.

Direct sunlight refers to light from the sun itself, whereas indirect sunlight is light reflected off objects such as clouds, water, buildings, etc.

Direct sunlight is usually bright but can be harsh on your subject. Indirect sunlight is softer than direct sunlight and can create beautiful images if used properly.

When the sun sets, the sky turns orange-red and then gradually fades into darkness. As the sun continues to set, the color in the sky slowly changes until it becomes completely dark. At this point, the sky will have turned black with only stars visible.

As the sun begins to rise, the sky starts to turn pinkish-orange. Then, as the sun gets closer to the horizon, the sky turns white and eventually yellow.

Golden Hours Are Perfect For Capturing Light

One thing that makes the golden hour so special is that it gives you both soft and hard lighting simultaneously. Soft lighting occurs when the light source is close to the subject. Hard lighting happens when the light source is far away from the subject.

Soft lighting tends to produce more flattering results than hard lighting. However, hard lighting can make an image stand out against its surroundings.

For example, if you’re photographing a landscape, you want to avoid using hard lighting sources like street lights, car headlights, etc. These kinds of lights tend to wash out the colors in the scene.

Instead, try shooting at dusk or dawn when the sun is low in the sky and the light is soft.

If you’re photographing people, you want to avoid hard lighting sources like flashlights, spotlights, etc. These kinds tend to overexpose the skin and cause unwanted shadows.

Instead, try shooting after sunset or before sunrise when the light is soft and the sky is still bright.

Shooting at the right time of day can help you achieve better-quality photographs. If you don’t know exactly when the best time of day is, you should probably just wait until the next one comes around.

What Is Blue Hour Photography? (Understanding The Golden Hour)

How To Use The Golden Hour Effectively

Now that we’ve talked about why the golden hour is so great, let’s discuss how to effectively capture the effect.

First of all, you need to figure out which direction the sun is facing. Most cameras come equipped with some sort of compass feature. Using this feature, you can easily determine whether the sun is rising or setting.

Once you know which way the sun is moving, you can plan accordingly. For instance, if you know that the sun is setting, you can position yourself so that the sun appears to be directly behind you.

This will allow you to take advantage of the soft lighting while keeping your background well-lit. It also helps prevent any reflections from appearing in your photos.

Another important factor to consider is where you’re standing relative to your subject. If you’re too far away, you may not get enough depth of field for your entire shot. On the other hand, if you’re too close, you risk getting blurry shots due to the camera shake.

The ideal distance depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. You might want to use a wide-angle lens to show the whole scene without having to crop later. In this case, you’ll want to keep your distance as short as possible.

Alternatively, you could use a telephoto lens to isolate a specific object. In this case, it’s fine to have a longer focal length since you won’t have to worry about cropping later.

As long as you stay within the range of acceptable distances, you should be able to find the perfect balance between depth of field and blurriness.

Finally, you should always shoot during the golden hour. This means that you should set up your equipment, compose your photo, and then start shooting immediately. Don’t waste any time waiting around!

When you do finally begin taking pictures, you should focus only on capturing the moment. Your main goal isn’t necessarily to create a masterpiece; instead, you should simply enjoy the experience.

After all, there are plenty of opportunities to improve your photography skills later. For now, just make sure that you’re enjoying every second of it.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it! For the right kind of photographer, golden hour is often the most important part of their day! It is the moment where they can strike sparks, create magic – take beautiful photographs without trying!

We hope that you are now a lot more confident in the golden hour and what it will do for your photography! If you want to know a little bit more about this subject, check below for a short FAQ section!

Frequently Asked Questions 

Get your last-minute queries answered here!

What Is Blue Light?

Blue light is the color spectrum that lies between 400nm-700nm. While blue light has many benefits, it does pose a few problems when used in photography.

For one thing, it can cause overexposure issues. When working outdoors, you don’t want to accidentally expose your image to sunlight. To avoid this problem, you can use filters such as ND grads.

However, these filters are expensive and bulky. They also tend to reduce the amount of light reaching your camera sensor.

A better solution would be to use an external flash unit. These units work by bouncing off the walls of your home or studio. By doing so, they emit much less light than direct sunlight.

What Is A Good Shutter Speed For Golden Hour?

There are two things to consider here: firstly, how fast you need to capture your subject, and secondly, how much motion you want to eliminate from your photos.

If you’re photographing something that moves quickly, you’ll probably want to use a faster shutter speed. However, if you’re looking to freeze action, you’ll want to use a slower shutter speed.

You can easily determine which setting works best for you by playing with both settings and seeing which looks best.