The light in all kind of photography is the main element, the value added to our images. A photo with good light is a good picture regardless of the subject, so it is important always taking pictures in those moments where the sunlight is softer and warm.
This moment is called the Golden Hour and is representing the hour of sunrise or sunset where we can get these great lighting conditions that give the images taken with a flash. The Golden hour is the hour between the twilight atmosphere of dawn and dusk
Why is better shooting during the golden hour?
During the golden hour the light in the sky is more soft and the colours leave space to oranges and reds, the angle of the sun makes it more interesting contrast with shadows and the scene fills with more warm and softness colours. The light are generally more dramatic and helps you to create more involving and capturing images
How to plan the Golden Hour
It is not always easy to catch this moment simply watching on the light conditions, the Golden hour varies depending of time and area where you are, but luckily there is an easy tool to calculate it in your current location. It’s called Golden Hour Calculator, through this website, you will easily be able to calculate the Golden hour in the place you are
You will find it simply by entering your current location, the two Golden hours (dawn and dusk) will be marked by two vertical yellow bands, one for the sunrise and the sunset. To know the exact start time and end of the Golden hour must stand with the mouse on the yellow line indicated, a message will tell you the beginning and the end of the Golden hour to get the best lighting conditions in your photos
Another great tool that I use to calculate the Golden hour and many other photography calculations is Photopills a very usefull app that will improve your shooting calculations, planning and much more
What you need to photograph during Golden Hour
Here a list of what can be very usefull to capture all the beauty of Golden Hour
Use a tripod. It will be darker than during the day so exposures will be generally longer and you may have trouble holding a long exposure shot in your hand
Use a polarize filters. Polarisers will help to enhance colours and reduce sun flare. This step is not mandatory, it depends a lot on the position you have with respect to the sun but generally the polarizer is of great help
Come to location early. The light will often be fading fast, get there early to avoid missing the best light
Do not be hurry to leave. Many times I see photographers leave just too early and loose the magic of some light, sometimes the best light comes after
For all these reasons, the Golden hour is the perfect moment to shoot, benefiting from these moments can be of great help to your photography. If you are looking to take your photos up a notch, shooting during the golden hour can make a big difference to your outdoor photography. Here you can find another resource on golden hour photography to find out more about it