Edited by Nataly Bogorad
January 15, 2020
Why Blue Hour Can Be an Awesome Addition to Your Photos
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Whether you are a novice photographer or a professional photographer, you are undoubtedly searching for ways to spice up your photos. The rise of social media websites – particularly Instagram – requires all photographers to think about how they can differentiate themselves from other photographers. Along with this, all photographers want to shoot beautiful photos that they can sell, share on social media or add to their personal portfolio.
While there are a variety of ways that you can accomplish these tasks, one thing that you may want to consider is leveraging blue hour photography. Simply put, blue hour photos can be stunning. By taking advantage of blue hour photography today, you will be able to add beautiful images to your portfolio.
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Blue Hour Photography: The Basics
To start, you may be asking yourself: what is blue hour and blue hour photography? Blue hour itself is the time of day (twilight) in the morning or evening after the sun is below the horizon. Once this occurs, the sky displays a deep blue color for some time. In other words, because the sun is below the horizon, residual, indirect sunlight takes on a predominantly blue shade. This blue shade is much different than the blue that we see on clear days, making it more profound in the sky. For context, the opposite of blue hour is the golden hour, which is the period shortly after sunrise and before sunset. In the golden hour, daylight is redder and softer.
With this idea in mind, let’s move on to blue hour photography. Blue hour photography, quite obviously, involves a photographer taking photos during a blue hour. Photographers like blue hour photography for a number of reasons. Most prominently, however, the blue hour can set some tranquil moods in your photos. Especially when paired with artificial light in your frame, a blue mood photo can evoke a calm mood. For instance, you can use the blue hour to shoot portraits or stunning landscapes of buildings if you live in a large city like New York or London.
Understanding blue hour and blue hour photography, you may now be wondering how you can shoot the best blue hour photos. There are entire courses on this topic. That said, here are some several quick tips that can maximize your odds of shooting the best blue light photos.
First, recognize that not everything is suited for blue light photography. Often, the best blue light photos involve things like cityscapes, bridges, and monuments. Keep this in mind as you are envisioning your blue light photos. Also, you want to ensure that the light emanating from these buildings isn’t too bright. If so, you may need to leverage the HDR technique to take your photo.
Along with this, when taking your photo, you will want to pay attention to the entire background – not just the center. Try to avoid poles, trees, and other bright light sources. If light enters your lens at a low angle, you may see lens flares, which will ultimately decrease your overall contrast.
Finally, it is important to mind your controls. According to Blue Hour Site, manual controls are best. Specifically, you may want to consider setting your aperture around f7 to f10, exposure time around one to five seconds, and a low ISO (100-200) setting. Having said this, these are just suggestions, so you may want to alter your settings as appropriate.
Ultimately, blue hour photography – like all photography – requires some experimentation. Because of this, don’t get frustrated if your photos don’t look the way you envisioned. Instead, learn from your mistakes and keep shooting.
Planning for Blue Hour
As discussed above, there are various things to keep in mind when shooting blue hour photos. But that said, one of the most important things you can do is actively plan for the blue hour before you take your photos. In reality, the blue hour lasts for about 30 to 40 minutes, so you want to make sure that you are ready to take advantage of the blue hour when it occurs.
Therefore, one of the best ways to plan for the blue hour is to use a blue hour calculator. Essentially, a blue hour calculator is a precise way to determine when the blue hour will occur where you live. Even if you are traveling to a stunning location to shoot blue hour photos, a blue hour calculator can help you decide when to show up and when to capture your photos.
One great blue hour calculator that you can use comes from JeKoPhoto. This blue hour calculator tells you exactly when you need to be ready to shoot your blue hour photos. Upon visiting JeKo Photo’s blue hour calculator, all you need to do is type in your location. If you like, you can also insert your latitude and longitude, the applicable month and year, and a particular mode, whether it is blue hour only, golden hour only, or a combination of the two. After you click submit, you will see precisely when the blue hour, golden hour, and/or both will occur.
A blue hour calculator won’t necessarily cause you to become a world-class photographer. There are other elements in creating great blue hour photos, from utilizing wide apertures and tripods to ensuring that you have a compelling background during blue hour. But having said that, we definitely encourage you to use a blue hour calculator before taking your photos. It will allow you to avoid wasted time and frustration when you are getting ready to shoot.
Creating Compelling Photos
There is a wide range of tips and tricks that you can leverage to create great photos. But having said that, we encourage you to try blue hour photography. While it does involve some planning, there are certain tools – like a blue hour calculator – that can help you make the process as easy as possible. Whether you are a hobbyist or a professional photographer, we believe that blue hour photos can be an excellent addition to your photography toolkit – whether you are taking selfies or landscapes of your city.
Once you have shot your blue hour photos, you may not be satisfied with the final result. You may wish to edit the photos further. If this is the case, we encourage you to check out Movavi Photo Editor. By using Photo Editor, you can tap into a wide range of features, like Magic Enhance, retouching, color correction, noise reduction and more. To learn more about how Movavi Photo Editor can help you edit your blue hour photos, don't hesitate to check out the program's page.
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