Photo Tip Friday: What is Golden Hour in Photography? Part 2

by Mary Denman    @MaryDenman

Golden Hour is a magical time in photography. 

It occurs twice a day. It’s the first hour after sunrise and the last hour before sunset. Because of the position of the sun near the horizon, the rays have to travel through the most atmosphere and this creates long shadows and soft, golden light.

Last week in part 1,we talked about Golden Hour and how the light is different than the rest of the day. 

This week, I want to show you how to use this time to create warm, magical shots.

Let’s get started.

Photo 1

In the photo 1, my daughter was facing the sun during sunset. Notice how warm and tan she looks. 

Golden hour lighting is very flattering for people. 

It doesn't cause the harsh lines of midday and because it's a warm color, it flatters skin tones. 

TIP 1: Have the sun at your back and the subject facing the sun.

Photo 2

After I got a photo of her facing the setting sun, I moved behind her to take a picture with the sun in the frame for photo 2.

In this shot, I took a meter reading on my daughter to make that part of the frame was properly exposed. 

Hence, the sun is a bit washed out. And because I have the sun in the shot, it creates lens flare which adds to the warm feeling of the shot. 

TIP 2: You face the sun with your subject to the side of the frame. 

Photo 3

In photo 3, my daughter is silhouetted by the setting sun. 

I love the dramatic mood this shot creates. 

By metering on the bright sun, I created the silhouette effect. 

TIP 3: Put the sun behind your subject to create a silhouette.

Photo 4

In photo 4, you can see the soft effect the sun has on the dogwood blossoms. 

It gives the flowers a warm glow and creates a magical feel to a spring day. 

Assignment: Grab your camera and take it with you. If you're an early riser, take pictures right after sunrise and see how they turn out. Otherwise, use the setting sun to learn the magic of golden hour. 

  • Shoot into the sun. 
  • Shoot into the sun with something blocking the sun for a silhouette. 
  • Shoot with the sun to your back. 
  • Experiment! 

Bloggers: As you improve your photography, you can use the photos on your blog for a more personal touch. I often find inspiration from my photos for blog posts. 

Cell Phone Users: While shooting towards the sun, if you focus on the sun, you can create a silhouette. If you focus on an object other than the sun, then you can create the washed out effect. 

I hope these tips help. 
Keep on clicking!


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  1. What amazing photos from the sunlight. Thank you for sharing on the Friday Features this week! GLad to see you back from your blogging break!
    Have a great weekend!

    1. Thanks Karren! It's called Golden Hour for a reason. Happy to be back.

      Have a great weekend!

  2. Great tips. I always try to get my camera out at the right times. My kids always hate facing into the sun though and I catch them trying to shuffle around. :) Thanks for linking up in the Ultimate Rabbit Hole.

  3. Thank you for sharing your expertise with us at

  4. I love taking pictures at dawn, love the colors. Thanks for the tip for cell phone users, I have never thought about that.

    Thank you so much for sharing at Sweet Inspiration, I hope you have a wonderful week!