• Laurie Pilia

10 Reasons to Schedule your Family Portraits During Golden Hour (When Sunlight turns Magical)


If you know me at all you know that I absolutely love to take photos around sunrise and sunset (yes, I post lots of them). But why? This time of day is known as Golden Hour, also known as the MAGICAL HOUR. It is popular with natural light photographers (that's me).


Have you seen the pictures that seem to glow, and everything in them seems rimmed with a halo of light? The ones with stunning flares of light that look like the subject’s soul is exploding out of them and dust clouds that look like magic suspended in air?

The hour or so before the sun goes down or up is a wonderful time to shoot portraits – this ‘Golden Hour’ is renowned for the qualities of its light and creative possibilities. The light just after sunrise and just before sunset is unlike any other light and it can’t be replicated. There are a few things about this kind of light that make it unique and beloved. When the sun is close to the horizon on a sunny day, its light appears warmer and softer. Simply put, MAGIC HOUR creates MAGIC PHOTOS.


10 Reasons to Schedule your Family Portraits During Golden Hour


1. Gorgeous Warm Light - The light at this time of day makes your subjects glow.

2. Light Picks Up Anything in the Air - particles in the air get picked up and highlighted in the light shining in from just above the horizon.

3. Silhouettes - the possibilities for full or partial Silhouettes are endless.

4. Lens Flare - sometimes seen as something to be avoided – another possibility with shooting into the sun is lens flare which can add atmosphere to your shots when used in moderation.

5. Take it Indoors - golden hour need not just be an outdoor thing. If you have a window or open doorway where the light streams through you can get some beautiful indoor golden hour shots too!


6. Moody Clouds - it’s not just about the light and color hitting your subject – but also how it hits the sky and landscape around them and how they create mood and atmosphere in your shot.

7. Monochromatic Possibilities - this time of the day isn’t just about the colors – it’s also about the angle of light which lends itself to black and white photography too.

8. Rims of Light - shoot with the sun behind your subject and you create rims of light around them which accentuate features and create magic!

9. Shadows Shadows Shadows - the angle that light hits your subject at this time of day is like any other time – creating striking shadow that can really make a portrait.

10. Just Because - there's just something about Golden Hour – and I'm all for it.







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