Golden hour, the magic hour – maybe you’ve heard friends mention this elusive time. Or briefly seen the words written on your favourite wedding site. Or maybe you have no idea what I’m referring to. Whatever the case, golden hour is worth talking about because it can transform your photos.
I always suggest taking portraits during golden hour, even if it means we sneak out of the reception for 40 minutes to ensure we capture the light.
I’m almost certain these will be your favourite portraits from the entire day – and you’ll see why in the photos below.
And keep reading to learn more about what this brief moment in time actually is and why it’s so special.
What is Golden Hour?
Golden hour is the last hour before sunset when the light changes into warm yellow tones. The sunlight is soft and glowing during this time, creating a dreamy, romantic look in photographs.
And because it’s diffused and not harsh like midday light, the camera can read it easier. Some even say this is when the light is at its most natural. This means your photos will naturally capture the light, giving them a timeless look.
Why are Golden Hour Photos Important?
Golden hour light produces a dreamy, warm glow and gives silhouettes more depth. It’s perfect for couples who want photos with a cozy, romantic, and timeless feel.
It’s also the best time to photograph because the camera can read skin tones better and capture the true colours of the day – from the dress to the flowers to the azure sea.
You may also see bokeh and flares in your images, which can add a dramatic touch. Bokeh is the little circles of blurred light produced in the unfocused parts of the photo. And flares happen when light beams hit the camera lens, creating bursts of light.
All of this adds a unique but natural look to your wedding portraits.
What’s also magical about the magic hour is that it’s the perfect moment to just be together. To step away and have some time to take in the whole day. It gives you a moment to reflect on everything that’s happened while enjoying a beautiful sunset.
How Do You Get Golden Hour Photos?
Since golden hour offers only a limited amount of time to work within, capturing it takes preparation and coordination. So you’ll want to make sure your wedding photographer has planned for the event.
I help all of my couples by preparing a timeline that includes time for golden hour photos. I start backwards from when the sun sets to ensure we have allowed enough time for this part of the day without missing any other important moments.
I’ll host at least two phone call meetings with my couples to help plan and guide them through their timeline and make sure we’re all on the same page. Golden hour is not to be missed! So clear communication and having a solid timeline is the path to success.
Does Film Help Capture Golden Hour Better Than Digital?
As an avid and experienced film photographer, I can assure you that film always reads light better than digital. Full stop.
Although there are some digital cameras, like the Fujifilm GFX, that are designed to simulate film colour and can get quite close. But nothing will ever beat the beauty of the real thing. I use the Contax 645, and I believe it is the BEST medium format film camera for capturing wedding portraits during golden hour. It is truly magical!If you would like to have golden hour photos of your own, please contact me. I’ll be in touch to talk wedding details soon!