Did you ever wonder how these warm and travel photos are made? I will tell you a secret. Go out at the best time for taking photos. The exact time depends on your location and the position of the sun, but the golden hour is the perfect moment for taking photos. Whether for landscape photos or portraits, the golden hour creates a special glow that you can’t create during the day.
What is the golden hour?
The golden hour refers to the last hour before sunset and the first hour after sunrise. It is the best moment to take stunning travel photos but also to make soft portrait photos and that’s all because of the light. I will explain to you what is so special about the light during golden hour.
The light is directional
During the golden hour, the sun is at a low angle in the sky. The light is coming from one direction to your frame, which is a flattering light. And the low angle creates longer shadows, which can be used for creative effects and amazing soft backlight. The directional light is also perfect for creating a lens flare in your photo, for creating silhouettes and sunbursts. So yes, the golden hour is also the perfect moment to take creative travel photos.
The light is soft
During the day, the sun is shining down directly, but during the golden hour, the sun is at a low angle in the sky. This results in the fact that the light got diffused. This diffuse light is softer, which makes it flattering for portraits. For this reason, the golden hour is the perfect moment for photographing flattering portraits with soft skin tones.
The light is warm
During the golden hour, the light is warmer, with lots of orange, yellow, and red tones. And this color palette is something most people love because it’s associated with feelings of happiness, summer, and warmth.
Some tips for golden hour photography
Golden hour photography asks for good planning. Check the sunrise and sunset at your location and also make sure the check the position of the sun (you can use a sun position app for this or just go out and watch). Thereby the golden hour is just a short period, so make sure you have a plan so that you can use the golden hour to the fullest.
Play with backlighting and side lighting. This applies to both travel photography and portrait photography. Maybe for portrait photography, you can bring a reflection screen to avoid too much shadow.
If you want to create a starburst in your photo it’s extremely important to choose the right setting. First, set your aperture to a high value (f/16) to be able to create a starburst. Then, set the shutter speed and the ISO to underexpose the image by two stops. Make sure you have the sun in your frame and make several shots to make your ultimate starburst photo. If you don’t underexpose the photo, you might end up with too much light in your photo.
And of course, make sure to edit your photos. You can use my Lightroom presets to edit your golden hour photos. Often in golden hour photos, you need to lighten up the shadows a bit and darken the highlights a bit. Easy to do with Lightroom.
Enjoy your golden hour shooting! Hopefully, these tips were helpful and motivated you to go out during the golden hour. I’m sure you won’t regret it.