Okay, photographers. Let’s discuss light. Better yet, let’s discuss how you can improve your photos just by choosing a different time of day. We are talkin’ Golden Hour.

Golden Hour is an amazing hour prior to sunset and a little after when the light is AMAZING. If you have been photographing families, couples, or just people in general during midday, you may be familiar with raccoon shadows (shadow around the eyes). The reason why this happens in midday is because the sun is directly overhead of your subject. The brow ridge will cause a shadow over the eyes.

When the sun is setting, it is horizontal to your subject, lighting the face evenly and with a marvelous glow. So, if you can choose the time for your photo sessions outdoors, stick to golden hour. I usually start about an hour and half prior to sunset for golden hour sessions. Here are three different looks throughout golden hour.

A full hour before sunset, the sun casts a very warm light, and shadows are still a bit harsh. Tip: Always be mindful of shadows. Shadows will be your guideline for many of your portraits.

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About a half hour before sunset, the shadows are softer and are slightly cooler in tone.

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Right after sunset (like within five minutes), the light is very even, wraps around your subject beautifully, and just looks amazing. This is my FAVE time to shoot. I wish it lasted longer than a few minutes each day.

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Sun flare is fun to play with during this time of day. Get out and experiment with it. You can create a variety of looks based on which lens you use and where you let the light leek into your camera.

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Of course you can’t beat a sunset…

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Post your midday photos (we’ve all taken them) and your golden hours photos in the comments! I would love to see them! Thanks for reading!

-Kristen D.