Edited by Nataly Bogorad

July 10, 2019

The Golden Hour

Also known as the magical hour, the golden hour is best described as the time when the sun is close to the skyline with its light seeming warmer and softer. In other terms, the golden hour is used to qualify the presence of natural lightning that is noticeable between sunrise and sunset. Other than the description, there is no particular definition that golden hour can be ascribed. Thus, we can talk about the features that mark the golden hour. They are naturally warm sunlight, civil dawn in the morning, and civil dusk in the evening.

When does the golden hour start? The particular time is usually dependent on one geography but the universe is most likely to experience the golden hour when the sun is within 6 degrees below the horizon and 6 degrees above the horizon. How long does this effect last? Although the popular opinion is that the golden hour only lasts for 60 minutes, this depends largely on latitude and season.

What Is Golden Hour Photography?

Mostly, during this time, photographers and lovers of natural aesthetic use the opportunity to execute photo-shoot, take selfies and create magical and loving photos – portraits, landscapes. This represents what golden hour photography and thanks to the golden hour, photographers benefit the most from it. However, time is short and only those who honor the rule of the golden hour truly benefit from with. It becomes important therefore for a photographer to plan if he wants to utilize natural light.

Golden Hour Photography Tips

Golden hour photography, to some degree, eliminates the need for a photographer to use filter while editing photos. The golden hour comes as a special time to capture magical moments and there are tips to doing so. They are presented below:


The first rule to golden hour photography is planning. Golden hour happens every day, but the hour is too short to be unprepared. Golden hour calculator which is based on astronomical algorithms can be used by to make photoshoot plans and the app is available to do this without stress. Golden-hour.com offers a high-quality application that helps generate detailed data on the sun all-round the year. Get the information about the exact time of the golden hour in your city and don’t forget to set your alarm clock.

Don’t stop shooting

The golden hour is not static even within the period it is supposed to last. Once it starts, the light will keep changing in a magical manner and the best way out is just to keep the shutter clicking for all the moment.

Position your white balance

In order to capture a cool tone of the changing golden hour into landscape and portrait pictures, it is best to position your camera manually to auto white balance. Don’t leave anything to chances when you want to get the best when the golden hour starts.

Employ a tripod

It is advisable to employ the use of tripod during golden hour. Not only will doing so help you reduce the speed of your camera's shutter so as to gather more amazing images, but it will also keep the photo-shoot balanced. Ultimately, sharp images will be captured. A lot really depends on what you are trying to shoot. You should know that without a tripod, it would have been hard to capture most of the golden hour photos that you see around you. Therefore, you should have one handy whenever you are working on golden hour photography.

When it’s a portrait, use a wide aperture

To get the best for portraits, warm golden hour light is the deal. When it's a photo of a person, the subject's skin not only receives a soft look, it is also able to face the light without having to keep a short look. Soft light is by itself more recommendable for faces and bodies than its counterpart which is known to leave cutting shadows on subjects’ faces. You may never really appreciate what it feels like to be captured in natural light in such a golden moment until you do. To use a wide aperture for a portrait, set the aperture to the opening of f/5.6 or more to a magical touch. With this, while focusing on your subject, you won’t end up missing the light.

Don’t use a flash

You don’t need any more light to interfere with the natural light from the golden hour. Irrespective of what the subject is wearing or the look of the environment, everything becomes attractively magical when it’s the golden hour.

Master the golden hour

Besides the opportunity to install golden hour apps on your Android devices and smartphones, it is important to master the golden hour too. Don’t forget that the calculator is only a predictor and may not be able to help you with all that meets the specification of every photography project. Follow the aforementioned tips and be ready always with or without the golden hour calculator.

On the other hand, close to the golden hour is the blue hour. It is characterized by the blend of blue natural lights. Since the sun is beneath the horizon, there is neither complete daylight nor total darkness. Unlike the former, the blue hour appears before sunrise and after sunset but the duration also depends on geographic location. So, you need the twilight calculator to know when either of the hours starts in your location. The tool to calculate golden and blue hours is available for free on Jekohoto.eu and can be used directly in your browser.

While there is no perfect season to take photography but it cannot be dismissed that some moments make creativity worthwhile for photographers than some other. A lot of creativity goes into making photos – from portrait to landscape, but a lot can really go from being good to being great when it's done during the golden hour or the blue hour. With the aesthetic, naturally warm lighting, sun flare that allows subjects to look at the sun without squinting, isn’t it understandable why some photographers will only approve of appointments within the golden hour only? For all the perfection that you care for, you can as well add more touch to the photos using Movavi Photo Editor. Tools available can be used to do color correction, effects, smoothing, retouching, text works, and many more.

Movavi Photo Editor

The easiest way to turn any snapshot into an eye candy

  • Improve quality and retouch blemishes
  • Add effects and filters
  • Crop, straighten, and flip pictures
  • Change image backgrounds and remove objects