Have you ever found yourself staring at a sunset. You have seen sunsets a million times, but they are always magical. Still...you don't really know why you're so drawn to them.
Why are you drawn to sunsets?
You could say "Duh! They are beautiful." But something I learned in many of my art classes at FSU is to always explain the reasoning behind something being beautiful. You can't just say "I like it because it's pretty." Think deeper. Why is it pretty?
I will tell you why Golden Hour is the BEST, and why you should only be taking photos during sunset.
1. Soft Light
The number one reason to take photos during golden hour is to get that soft light that's only comparable to sunrise (but who likes to wake up at 5:00am to do a shoot?!). Because we're so used to the sun coming up and down, we don't really think about how the sun affects photos. It's only until you force yourself to see light, that you begin to understand it.
At 12:00pm, the sun is always very high in the sky, creating harsh shadows. I remember when I just started photography and I would book shoots whenever it was most convenient (sometimes at noon), and I had so many photos with people squinting, sweating, and looking uncomfortable. Who would have thought that moving the shoot to 6:00pm would have solved ALL those problems!
With the help of soft light, your photos will have a more dreamy look. The colors will be even, and everything will blend together nicely.
2. Warm Tones
I am a very nostalgic person. I love looking back at my old photos. If I listen to piano music and see my baby pictures at the same time I will start crying. Having warm tones in photos can be an artistic choice. But there's warm tones in everything. Highlights are warm, and shadows are cool.
Sunsets intensify the warm tones, and that's another reason why people love sunsets. For some reason the beautiful orange cast that surrounds everything during golden hour makes us tingle with happiness.
WARM TONES = WARM FEELINGS
3. Sun Flares
A lot of movies will showcase sun flares. They add a cinematic touch to any photo or video. I LOVE my 50mm 1.2 L because it always captures sunsets like this (you have to find the right spot though).
4. It's Romantic
Photographing couples is something I truly adore. Especially couples that are obviously super in love. If you hire me as your photographer, you will probably see me smile and hear me say "Awwww!!" a lot. Sunsets are the perfect combination for lovey-dovey couples.
5. It takes photos to the next level
This goes back to point #1. The light that golden hour provides you is enough to take your photos to the next level. There's technique involved to getting it right, but practice makes perfect!
6. Less People Around
If you have ever decided to adventure on a weekend to an amazing location that happens to be popular, you will probably have to deal with lots of photo bombers if you go during "normal" hours like noon.
A big plus of taking photos during sunsets (especially when the sun sets at 8pm!!) is that a lot people don't go out that late, so you will have more space to enjoy and photograph for yourself.
7. Cooler weather
This is super helpful during summer. I lived in Florida for about 10 years. Trust me, you WANT to do shoots at sunset because otherwise you will get very tan and your models won't be too happy. I thought moving to Atlanta might cool things down a bit, but it doesn't feel any cooler during the summer. However, if you're going out to shoot during winter, bring an extra jacket because you might be freezing!
Now go out and take some photos during golden hour! I hope I was able to give you a better understanding of how sunset can help you create better photos :).
Let me know if you'd like me to make a blog post on how to photograph portraits during golden hour.
All photos by Melissa Artieda www.melissartieda.com