5 Photo Tips for Finding Your Golden Hour

It may be sunrise, sunset, or the in-between — that hour where time seems to stop and the light fills you up as fast as it falls away. The definition of Golden Hour depends on your point of view, so, we've pulled together 5 tips to prove that the light is what you make of it. Whether you're searching near or far, capture those few magic micro-moments that make you feel something.

Tip 01

Seek out Soft Light

With Carina Skrobecki

Finding soft light doesn't always mean being outside during that perfect evening glow. There are a lot of ways to find & create soft light by using a few resources already at your disposal. For instance, concrete is a great reflector—it can help soften shadows and harsh mid-day light. You can also ease direct light by obstructing the light behind a tree, a rock, or your subject. I also love shooting by water—it's nature's best tool. You can use it to add interest to an image while creating a nice glow.

Tip 02

Wake Up With Your Camera

With Dan Tom

My favorite time to shoot is between the first light of the day — you'd be surprised how much your subject can change in that first hour of light. Usually that means getting there 30-45 minutes before the sunrise. This allows me to catch a landscape, subject, etc in the best light. You will probably want to use your DSLR as most mobile phone cameras aren't able to shoot when the light is this low. I always keep my camera nearby and ready to go (fully charged!). You never know what may come.

Tip 03

Meet the Light

With Kara Mercer

Catching the light at its most magical hour is half patience and half execution. Much of my work is balanced with the perfect amount of light funneling in and finding creative ways to hide it or use it for framing. By moving around and examining the whole scene before sunset, you will find the perfect place to get your shot. Don’t be afraid to get creative when using light, I use my hands to block light from the lens. I find this technique allows me the perfect minor adjustments, as opposed to a lens hood. Shhh, it even takes away the harsh flare and throws golden light at your subject…talk about hallelujah there’s the light!

Tip 04

Look on the Bright Side

With Matt Gee

Sometimes we get up early or stay out late anticipating the perfect light—and it doesn't always happen. Often times, it's making the most of the light you have when you have it, even if it's not during traditional golden hour times. Whether it's capturing the textures and shadows created by direct sunlight or using the diffused light of cloudy conditions to your advantage, you can almost always make your "own" golden hour.

Tip 05

Create Light in the Dark

With Chris Burkard

Harnessing natural light is an intricate art of its own and can allow for a visually engaging photo that emphasizes your subject and creates depth within the image. I always try to use the sky to contrast whatever light (city lights, camp fires, etc.) is present within the scene. It’s best to shoot during dusk/evening time to harness as much ambient light in the sky as possible while also conveying the sense of “darkness” which is surrounding your lit subject. Shooting during this time also will help you avoid over-exposing the brighter subjects or under-exposing the darker surrounding areas.

Follow along with the Contributors

Tip 01: Carina Skrobecki

Tip 02: Dan Tom

Tip 03: Kara Mercer

Tip 04: Matt Gee

Tip 05: Chris Burkard

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