Why Should I Schedule My Session During Golden Hour?

You may be asking yourself, why does Rachael always want to schedule our sessions so late in the evening, my kids have a set bedtime! Well, if you want those magical, stunning, beautiful images you have to schedule your session during what us photographers call "GOLDEN HOUR". Golden hour is about 30 minutes before and after sunset/sunrise.

During this time the sunlight gives off a warm tone and sends directional light onto the subject. This low directional light source makes for a stunning three dimensional image. As photographers we are striving to make the two dimensional images appear three dimensional. We do this by using light to create shadows and highlights creating depth.

This same rule applies to Real Estate Photography and Landscape photography. The image above was shot during golden hour and I replaced the sky with a bright blue sky to give it more of a pop of color. See how the light from inside the windows is bright yellow, this is achecived by shooting at golden hour. You also get soft, warm light.

Don't get me wrong, sunset is not the only time you can schedule a session, just the best time to do so. If your little one goes to bed early or that time of day just doesn't work for you there are plenty of other options. Shooting during the day poses a few added challenges to the photographer. The light is harsh and bright, casting harsh shadows full of contrast. Also, since the sun is shining from directly above it casts an unwanted shadow under your eyes. You may also get dappled sunlight casting onto your subject when the light shines through the trees, So you ask, how do we avoid these things? Well..... we put the subject in the shade.

The image above was shot at 5pm in June when sunset was around 8pm. There is some directional light here but the sun was still pretty high in the sky. I put the subject in front of the sun, with the light shining behind them aka backlit.

The above and below images were shot at 4pm in July when sunset was around 9pm. We took advantage of shaded areas and hid behind buildings. When the sun was present like in the picture below, I made sure the subjects were in the shade. I used Photoshop to lighten up the midtowns to make the subjects look brighter.

Below I used the building as shade. Although this time of day is not ideal for photo sessions, you can still get some great shots and the kids are in the best moods. I believe catching the kids when they're at their best is more important than the light. Sometimes we have to compromise.

Weather you're shooting during golden hour or the middle of the day, working with the family and ensuring fun is being had is the most important part of my job.

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