Photography

3 Golden Hour Photography Tips

If you’re a photography enthusiast, we’re almost positive you’ve heard of the infamous golden hour. A compositionally magical time of day, this key block of time is best known for offering artists some of the most flattering possible natural light to work with in developing stunning sunset photography. For those who want to make the most of Mother Nature’s golden hour opportunity, here are some of the best ways to take advantage:

  1. Time it Right- When should you be ready to shoot? According to experts, the golden hours happen during the first hour right before the sun rises and during the last hour of light right before it sets. At these precise times, the sun is closer to your subject because it’s going through more of earth’s atmosphere. Because of this key positioning, it will shed a stunning, soft, diffused light on your shot. Predicting these exact times can be tricky, especially depending on where you’re located. Lucky for you, this NYIP grad developed a Smartphone app for photographers that will do the calculating for you.
  2. Perfect your Lighting- Depending on the look you’re trying to achieve, there are different ways you should adjust accordingly to take advantage of the golden hour glow. If the subject you’re shooting is facing the sun head-on, golden hour lighting will give your shot a naturally warm feel (that you can further enhance if you’d like via post-processing). To backlight your images, the sun will be behind your subject instead. If this is the case, your most important adjustment should be to your exposure, to make sure you’re capturing the correct tones of your subject.
  3. Get creative- If you want to create a halo look around your subject, either place the sun behind your subject or make sure the background is dark. It can also be helpful to try a lower camera angle if you’re looking to achieve this.

With Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano filling the skies of Northern Europe and Britan with ash from multiple eruptions, photographers in the areas where the ash is drifting may be in for some great sunsets for quite some time. This article will help you take great sunset photos whether they are caused by volcanic eruptions or not.

We know a photographer who visited Hawaii exactly once, and then only for two hours while changing airplanes for a flight to Japan. He had time to take a few pictures right around the airport, including a photograph of that evening’s dramatic sunset with a palm tree in the foreground. He sold that image over and over again through his stock photo agency and made a total of $17,000.

Not bad for a two-hour layover in Hawaii. Sunsets sell!

We get a lot of questions at the Institute about how to take great photographs of sunsets. The truth is, it’s easy. The hard part is finding a great sunset and being ready at the right time. We promise that if you follow the tips in this article, you’ll be ready when you find the perfect sunset.

The sun sets every day, but to get a perfect sunset picture you need the right conditions of dust and clouds.

How to Take Great Photographs of Sunsets
The dusky-red of the setting sun is the result of dust in the air. Where does it come from? Wind blows lots of dust from the ground up into the air. And smoke and industrial pollution provide dust too (it’s one of the few benefits of air pollution). So do forest fires. Perhaps the biggest contributor of all is volcanic eruptions. There’s nothing like a volcano to launch a huge payload of dust and smoke into the upper atmosphere from which it circles the globe.