6 Golden Hour Photography Tips- Create Exquisite Photos Without Expensive Lighting

April 13, 2010 · 20 comments

in Inspiration,Tips & Tricks

We all know that not enough lighting can ruin a photo. However, harsh direct sunlight can also a wreck a photo – overexposed, too much contrast, intense highlights and shadows.

Golden hour (aka magic hour) is around the first and last hour of sunrise and sunset. The sunlight during those hours creates soft warm hues, as oppose to the overtly bright tones you’d find during midday.

Don’t be surprised to find more landscape photographers during golden hours. The sun illuminates buildings and landscapes with a desirable red and orange tint. You’d often notice in films how they also deploy this technique to capture breathtaking scenes of the ocean, countryside or cityscape.

How to shoot during golden hours

1)    Check the times of sunrise or sunset in your local area
Don’t just assume. Also check the weather forecast. If it’s very cloudy or there’s a chance of rain, you won’t be able to see the golden hour.

2)    Arrive early
Don’t let the name fool you as sometimes you’d have less an hour to capture the photos in the warm tones. Especially during the Winter months. Getting there early means you won’t be rushed setting up your gear or adjusting camera settings.

3)    Turn off auto white balance
Manually adjust the white balance to create the color mood you desire. Or, you can also experiment with the auto-presets such as ‘sunny’ or ‘daylight’.

4)    To light up your subject in the foreground
Set EV (exposure value) to +1, +2 or +3. Alternatively, you can also slow down your shutter speed or use a fill flash.

5)   To create a shadow effect with your foreground subject
Set EV to -1, -2 or -3. You can also choose to make your shutter speed faster.

6)    Use a tripod
You would produce clearer images and capture more vibrant colors.

Here are some examples that would hopefully inspire you to get shooting during the golden hours!


Walking with the saints
by mugley
Walking with the saints


Tranquil Waters of Nasugbu
by justinjovellanos
Tranquil Waters of Nasugbu


Portal de l’Àngel – Barcelona
by MorBCN
Portal de l'Àngel - Barcelona


Magic Kingdom
by Peter E. Lee
Magic Kingdom

Lifestyle by emeahacheese (MAHS)
Lifestyle


Golden Hour
by Jakob Montrasio
Golden Hour


Glowing Sails
by cobalt123
Glowing Sails

Article by

1 part ad agency. 2 parts freelancer. An avid urban photographer, traveler, and streetwear lover. Geeky curator of all things awesome. Sustains on Vegemite, meat pies and lamingtons. Follow me on Twitter or Flickr.

Yi has written 69 awesome articles for us at Photoble

  • http://webylife.com/ Nikunj

    Morning & evening are the best time for photography

  • http://webylife.com/ Nikunj

    Morning & evening are the best time for photography

  • http://www.twitter.com/yiiee Yi

    Judging by the photos, they’re definitely great times to take photos. Great website you’ve started on, look forward to more of your posts!

    - Yi

  • http://www.twitter.com/yiiee Yiie

    Judging by the photos, they're definitely great times to take photos. Great website you've started on, look forward to more of your posts!

    - Yi

  • Pingback: [User Link:6 Golden Hour Photography Tips- Create Exquisite Photos Without Expensive Lighting] | Tips for Designers and Developers | tripwire magazine

  • http://photowork.eu Damian

    These all picture are so nice and cool I am very excited after I see such fabulous.It attract any one by its beauty such nice collection.

  • http://photowork.eu Damian

    These all picture are so nice and cool I am very excited after I see such fabulous.It attract any one by its beauty such nice collection.

  • http://www.twitter.com/yiiee Yi

    Thanks Damian for your positive feedback. Hope this post has inspired you to take some Golden Hour photos yourself.

  • http://www.twitter.com/yiiee Yiie

    Thanks Damian for your positive feedback. Hope this post has inspired you to take some Golden Hour photos yourself.

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  • http://www.brettwidmann.com Brett Widmann

    I love photography. These are some great tips and beautiful photos to prove they work. Thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.brettwidmann.com Brett Widmann

    I love photography. These are some great tips and beautiful photos to prove they work. Thanks for sharing.

  • Pingback: 155+ Useful Fresh Articles for Designers and Developers - tripwire magazine

  • http://profiles.google.com/jebsapps Jebs Apps

    If you have an Android phone, try downloading GoldenPic. It grabs your GPS coordinates and then calculates the Sunrise, sunset, Golden Hours, Blue Hours and weather for your location. It also allows you to change your location to plan a trip.

    The paid version also lets you save your GPS coordinates to map out with Google Maps at a later date.

  • Pingback: Finding the golden hour « Chez Lorraine

  • http://goldenpic.jebsapps.com Ron

    GoldenPic is now also available for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad! 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ralph-Woods-Ralph-Woods/100004006862623 Ralph Woods Ralph Woods

     Great tutorial on  excellent photograph tips.I love to take photograph of different  scenery,sea beach,mountain etc.The tips are helpful for me to catch the better photograph.Thanks for nice information.

  • Mostafizur

    Great photography.Thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.graphicsclippingpath.com/ Graphics Clipping Path

    I like your photography blog! I really appreciate these kind of outstanding job. Thanks for your nice tutor!!

  • http://graphicexpertsbd.com Brian Dean

    Great job
    here. I really enjoyed what you had to say. Keep going
    because you definitely bring a new voice to this subject. Not many
    people would say what youve said and still make it
    interesting. Well, at least Im interested. Cant wait to
    see more of this from you.

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