Although golden hour photography has been around since the dawn of photography, it has recently become all the rage, all thanks to social media! And it makes complete sense because the vibrant hues and soft light that only occur during golden hour make for some of the most enchanting and romantic wedding photos. While the light itself sets the stage for incredible portraits, capturing it well requires strategic planning. In this blog, we will share 5 golden hour photography tips to help you capture the best golden hour wedding photos. So grab your camera, and prepare to take the most swoon-worthy golden hour photos for your couples!
What Time Is Golden Hour?
Also known as ‘magic hour’, golden hour is the hour shortly after sunrise or before sunset when the sun is low on the horizon, producing a beautiful and warm light that illuminates everything with a golden glow. Now, you may wonder, “How long is the golden hour?” Well, as the name suggests, it generally lasts for about an hour, but this timeframe can vary depending on your location and the time of year.
Golden Hour Photography Ideas: Inspiration From ShootDotEdit Customers
If you’re looking for some golden hour wedding photo inspiration, check out some of the most breathtaking golden light photography by ShootDotEdit customers below!
1. Brandi Allyse Photo
2. Breonna Wells Photography
3. Diane Nicole Photography
4. Jorge Santiago Photography
5. Photography By Orlando
6. Looyenga Photography
7. Melissa Fe Chapman Photography
5 Ways To Capture Romantic Golden Hour Wedding Photos
1. Plan Ahead And Scout The Location
To capture stunning golden hour wedding photos, it’s essential to plan ahead and scout the location beforehand. Timing is everything, and it’s important to schedule your shooting time based on the timing of the sunset. Arriving early at the location is crucial so that you can scout the area (if you couldn’t do it before the wedding day), understand the best potential angles and shooting positions, and plan the right timing of the photo shoot accordingly. However, don’t assume that just because a couple plans a beach wedding, you’ll be guaranteed a sunset photo. It’s important to find out exactly where the sun rises and sets and use professional apps like Sun Surveyor to pinpoint the best vantage points for taking photos.
Read More: The Importance Of Location Scouting In Wedding Photography
2. Pick A Spot With A Scenic View
When it comes to wedding venues, couples put a great deal of effort into choosing a location that resonates with who they are. So, why not take advantage of the place to capture some magical golden hour wedding photos? The location you choose for couples portraits could really make your wedding pictures pop. A scenic view can really add depth and interest to your photos, making them truly stand out. There are so many different types of scenery that work great during the golden hour time.
A beach wedding can offer stunning photos with warm, glowing light shining on the ocean. On the other hand, a mountainous landscape can create a grand and awe-inspiring setting. Gardens can give off a dreamy and romantic vibe, and cityscapes can be super dynamic and energetic. Choose a location that fits the couple’s unique style and resonates with you as well. With a beautiful spot and that magical golden hour lighting, you’ll have everything you need to capture stunning wedding photographs.
3. Capture Dreamy Photos From Unique Perspectives
Have you ever considered using a drone? Drone shots are all the hype these days! They can help you get an impressive bird’s-eye view of the couple, the wedding venue, and its surroundings. This perspective can add a whole new dimension to your golden hour wedding photos, making them truly unforgettable. Another way to mix things up is by experimenting with different focal lengths. A wide-angle lens can be perfect for capturing the newlyweds from a distance, while a telephoto lens is great for getting up close and personal and creating an intimate look.
Suggested Read: Putting Into Perspective: What Makes A Good Photograph
4. Dial In The Correct Camera Settings
To get the most out of this magical hour, you need to dial in the correct golden hour photography settings. Shooting in manual mode allows you to adjust the exposure to take advantage of the backlighting. Setting a low aperture can give you a beautiful, soft focus effect in portraits, while a higher aperture value provides a sharp image throughout the scene.
As for ISO, if the lighting is strong and bright, go for ISO 100 or lower. But as the sun sets, increase the ISO to around 400-800. For shooting couples portraits during golden hour, it’s best to start with an ISO of 100, a wide aperture like f/2, and a shutter speed of 1/250–1/500. As the sun goes down, gradually increase the ISO to maintain the sharpness and exposure of the images. One last tip is to use Aperture Priority Mode while shooting. It gives you the ease of manually adjusting the aperture while the camera automatically adjusts the shutter speed and ISO accordingly.
5. Experiment With Different Lighting Techniques
Looking to add some creative flair to your wedding photos? Consider experimenting with different lighting techniques during the golden hour. Silhouettes are a popular choice and offer intense and dramatic results. The lower position of the sun during golden hour makes it perfect for capturing this type of shot. Sun flares are another dreamy and magical addition to your golden hour wedding photos, adding those bright rings of light. Meanwhile, backlighting during the golden hour can make your wedding photos glow, creating a beautiful halo or rim light around your subject and making them stand out.
Further Read: Blue Hour Photo Inspiration From ShootDotEdit Customers
Capturing the golden hour, either during sunrise or sunset, is an art form. Next time you’re out shooting in the gorgeous golden light, use these tips to get the best shots. Remember, planning ahead is key! Scout the location for scenic views, and keep an eye on where the sun is moving so that you can be prepared for any opportunities it presents. Dial in the right camera settings, and consider experimenting with different lighting techniques. Also, don’t forget to guide your couple and try some posed shots as well as candid ones! The end results will be so worth it!
At ShootDotEdit, we are passionate about helping you grow as a wedding photographer. However, if you find that endless editing tasks are blocking your way and sapping your energy, let us help! To learn more about how our professional photo editing services could give you your time back, check out our pricing plans.
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