What is Golden Hour?
It when the sun is rising and when the sun is setting. This is when the sun will be lowest in the sky, creating a golden glow and longer shadows.
Why do photographers love golden hour?
Assuming there aren’t any clouds in the sky, the sun can take on a super golden glow. And when backlit (putting the sun behind your subject) it can wrap around a subject creating a beautiful halo of light. It’s usually a softer, more manageable light. Think about it, when the sky is directly above, midday, shadows are usually smaller and the light is more harsh. Sometimes it can be hard to even open your eyes! So photographers like to shoot when the light is easier to work with and not blinding people.
Where is the best location to catch the glow?
I like to shoot in fields that have trees. Not overly populated with trees but a few bigger ones that provide shade. This way I can shoot through a tree branch to have better control over the amount of light coming into the lens, helping avoid unwanted glares. Shooting in an area of diffused light also helps create the best, most natural looking skin tones.
I may even consider being higher in elevation so that we maybe looking down on the horizon opposed to looking up to it. This gives us more time to utilize the best light of the day if we have a full sunset.
Everything seems to glow, seriously.
The weeds in a field that you don’t seem to notice during the day, literally transform during the golden hour. They can create the most beautiful, natural backgrounds and compositions we have available. The next time you’re on your way to work in the morning or driving home in the evenings, look over out the window to the grass and weeds along the road or off in a field, they glow.