Bluebird Chic ambassador Samantha of Samantha Hayn Photography shares her best tips for capturing the magic of golden hour.
I am absolutely obsessed with photographing just about anything and anyone at “magic hour” ( or as most call it Golden Hour ).
Magic hour in the world of photography refers to the time of day that the sun is starting to set and is golden (typically the last hour of sunset )! There really is so much beauty at Magic Hour. And over the years I’ve learned many different ways to capture it, allowing me to get a wide variety of shots at my sessions.
I am excited to share a few of those tips + tricks to “capturing the beauty of magic hour” with you today.
TIP # 1 – Don’t shoot directly into the sun.
Most of the time when you hear “golden hour,” the first thing that pops into your mind is sun flare right?!?!?! This is one thing at the beginning of my career I thought golden hour was all about and that was pretty much it. Sun flare can add a really magical element to your images ( if done right) but it can also add some ugly green/purple dots to your subjects face that maybe you don’t notice until you get home and uploaded your images ( speaking from experience here ).
Knowing where the sun is, and knowing where to either place your subject, or yourself is key! I always try to make sure I am shooting so that the sun is off to the side slightly. That way I’m able to get my subjects exposed, get the sun flare, and also avoid those awful sun flare spots!
TIP # 2 – Don’t be afraid of harsh light.
Direct light, my new found love! You guys, Magic Hour + direct light is literally game changing! Don’t be afraid of it!! When you first learn photography direct sunlight ( harsh light ) is always portrayed as off limits. NOPE! The light during Magic Hour is so beautiful and usually vibrant in color, which will depend upon the sunset. Sometimes we get pink skies, orange, purple etc. using direct light during magic hour will color cast onto your images, so just be aware of your white balance, exposure, and think overall of what you want the end product to look like once you edit!
For me direct light for black and white edits is my heaven. The contrast is out of this world and truly speaks to my heart and soul. Please do not be afraid to use this amazing light, go out and experiment with it!
Tip #3 – Take advantage of every “last ounce of light.”
Last but not least the grand finale of Magic Hour, the last ounce of light ( or so I call it ). The tail end of Magic hour is… well MAGICAL. Be prepared to shoot wide open, with a higher ISO, and lower shutter speed.
I absolutely adore the tail end of golden hour. The moment the sun has just fallen under the horizon. The colors in the sky are just breathtaking, there’s no harsh light to worry about, just ambient. I personally love the challenge of shooting at this time of night. It’s certainly not easy, but totally rewarding when you see what you can do with such little light!
Thanks so much for reading! Now go grab your camera, and get out there and experiment!!!
Hi! My name is Samantha, I’m a Tampa Bay FL lifestyle photographer with a passion for family, maternity and newborn portraiture. When I don’t have my camera in my hand you can find me sipping on some wine, stuffing my face with junk food, and laying in bed watching tv!
Visit me at my site: http://samanthahaynphotography.com/