What is the Golden Hour?

I am sure you have heard it several times from photographers: “the best time to do photos is during Golden Hour.” And it is true, hands down! Within photography, the best light can make a photograph POP and stop you right in your tracks.

Untitled photo

The warmth and natural glow of Golden Hour makes photographs inviting, pleasing to look at and that right there is THE MAGIC OF GOLDEN HOUR. You may be asking, “well when is Golden Hour?” I have you covered! (; Golden Hour is roughly one hour after sunrise and one hour before sunset. To better know the times of Golden Hour in your area use these helpful apps on your cell phone: Magic Hour (IOS) and Golden Hour (Android)

The soft and warm light of the Golden Hour makes it much easier to photograph subjects than during the midday sun which is far too harsh and doesn’t look good in photographs. If you are just starting out in photography, I would definitely suggest shooting your sessions during the Golden Hour because it is must easier to work with, plus it is professional photographers go to. (=

Untitled photo
Untitled photo

Basically, Golden Hour is when the sun is in a lower position in the sky and is when it’s soft, warm, and directional. For example,

Soft: The Golden Hour conversion from light to dark is gradual which creates a soft light that’s flattering and excellent for portraiture.

Warm: The angle of the sun in the sky creates a mystical glow that creates a beautiful ambiance of warmth and calmness.

Directional: Since the sun in low in the sky it’s easy to capture back lighting, side lighting, and front lighting with only the sun and a handy reflector or fill flash.

Also, another plus to shooting in Golden Hour is the steep angle of the light which makes beautiful shadows and pleasing contrast adding depth and dimension to your images.

Untitled photo

Before I end this, I want to give a few tips to my fellow photogs:

1. SEARCH OUT YOUR LOCATIONS (Do your homework)

Golden Hour is varying in different locations. Go check out the locations you are wanting to shoot at before you do your session; that’ll give you ample time to prep your poses, where you will want to shoot at, at what location and so on. Remember, timing is everything.


Like Khareghat from Affinity Spotlight says, “working in manual mode will give you full control over your exposure and creative aspects like depth of field, grain, and motion blur. Of course, you can always “break the rules” with interesting compositions, underexposure, and unconventional effects, but it helps to understand how each of your settings influence the mood and aesthetic of the final photo.”


Golden Hour has a full range of effects. Stay the entire hour and enjoy and shoot, Shoot, SHOOT. The lighting changes VERY quickly and the scenery can look exceedingly different after just a few minutes.

Want to know more in-depth information about Golden Hour? Check out this informative video:

Khareghat, M. (2020, June 23). Understanding golden hour, blue hour, and twilight photography. Retrieved November 14, 2020, from https://affinityspotlight.com/article/understanding-golden-hour-blue-hour-and-twilight-photography/

  • No Comments


Terms & Conditions/Privacy Policy

Powered by SmugMug Owner Log In