Lighting is Everything
Lighting makes or breaks photography. Period. Anyone can start talking about gear, landscapes, and outfits but if your photographer (in this case, me!) is picking the wrong lighting scenario, your photos will not be optimal.
It is not up to you to know what or when is best for natural light. But giving you a few pointers will help you better understand the situation. All my couples eventually asked me: what time of day is best to have our photos? So here’s a quick explanation.
The physics behind Golden Hour
You may have heard of it from a photographer or even a friend who’s really into their Instagram account, but Golden Hour has become somewhat of a buzzword. But what is it exactly? Simply put, it refers to the short period of time where the sun is low on the horizon. And it’s one of the ideal times for taking photos. That time is what we call Golden Hour!
You get a warm color temperature and the best quality of light. An easy reference point is to consider that you’ll have this gorgeous, soft light the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset.
The exact timing is based on different variables such as the shooting location, weather and the season. When the sun is six degrees above the horizon and six degrees below, you enjoy this magic hour – as we call it too. You can find more technical information about Golden Hour here if you are curious.
If you’ve followed my work on social media or on my website, you know how much I love working with diffused light and deep shadows. It brings a great sense of mystery and softness that suits perfectly the love in couples and more generally portrait photography.
Shooting with natural light allows me to play with this sense of romanticism accordingly along with my landscape photography skills. California offers countless locations that take my breath away, and that work marvelously with Golden Hour light. I am driven to showcase my couples connection within this spectacular environment.
Here is something you may not have known: Golden Hour still occurs when the sun sets below the horizon. Immediately following that time is the blue hour and this is when I am losing my mind and screaming all over the place. Yes, the light is that good at that moment!
Why? The light is incredibly soft, the tones get bluer and it lasts only a few minutes. Therefore I am crazy excited for you!
By now you understood why I always shoot your best couple photos at sunrise (if you like to wake up early) or at sunset.
Below are a few examples of these delicious lighting scenarios. Can you spot the subtle differences between the warm gold and cool blue light?
Golden Hour and Blue Hour Photos
California Locations featured: Yosemite National Parks, Salt Point State Park, Switzer Farm, Joshua Tree, San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, Marin Headlands, Jenner