Thursday, March 13, 2014

Quick Tips for Shooting During the Golden Hour

Photo by kelsey.p

If there's one thing that can make or break a photograph more than any other, it's lighting. You might have the most incredible landscape or stunning portrait model, but without the right quality of light you can still be left with a flat, dull, and uninspiring photo. In photography, the golden hour (a.k.a magic hour) is a period shortly after sunrise or before sunset during which daylight is redder and softer compared to when the Sun is higher in the sky.

When the sun is near the horizon, sunlight travels through a greater depth of atmosphere, reducing the intensity of the direct light, so that more of the illumination comes from indirect light from the sky, reducing the lighting ratio. More blue light is scattered, so if the sun is present, its light appears more reddish. In addition, the sun's small angle with the horizon produces longer shadows.

Because the contrast is less during the golden hour, shadows are less dark, and highlights are less likely to be overexposed. In landscape photography, the warm color of the low sun is often considered desirable to enhance the colours of the scene.

Photo by on2alan

Here's a few quick tips for shooting during the golden hour

Calculating the Golden Hour. One of the quickest and easiest ways to calculate the times of your two daily golden hours is to use this golden hour calculator. Also there's a smartphone apps titled "Golden Hour" that can calculate sunrise or sunset times for you based on your GPS.

Shoot Fast. The light during this time is fleeting and quickly changes and your scene can look vastly different after just a few minutes as the sun dips below the horizon. So don't just shoot a few photos and leave, stick around and capture the ever-changing array of colors until the sun has dropped below the horizon.

Catch Sun Flares. This is a great time to capture sun flares! This works well during the golden hour because the sun is at such a great angle.

What to Shoot. The golden hour rule can be applied to any type of outdoor photography. As well as the more obvious subjects such as landscapes and city scenes, it also works well for outdoor portraits, shots of flowers and plants, and even certain types of still life such as cars.

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