Yes and no...
I was first introduced to the golden hour by our engagement and wedding photographer. For our engagement shoot, she had us up at the crack of dawn to take pictures. She claimed that's when we'd catch the golden hour when light is softer. Let me tell you, I was not happy...until I saw the beautiful images she was able to capture.
The golden hour isn't really an hour, but the periods right after sunrise or before sunset. The intensity of direct sunlight is reduced, and you can avoid harsh shadows and highlights in your photos. Plus, your eyes won't be squinting and fighting with the sun. So is it the best time to take photos? When working with clients to determine the time of day for their shoot, I consider a few factors:
- Are we photographing adults only? Or is it a shoot with young children? Let’s be real, photographing young children can be unpredicatable. I work with my clients to make sure we choose a time of day that works with their schedules when their little people are most comfortable. I have 2 little ones, and for us first thing in the morning after breakfast is when they’re most calm and we don’t have to resort to as much bribery (of course I need loads of coffee for sanity as well).
- Are you a morning person? Or do you need some time in the day to warm up? Is it possible to not be a morning person or a night owl? Because if so, that’s me. But trust me, I’ll wake up for a good shot! If you’re a morning person, I’d aim for that golden hour right after the sun rises so we can capture awesome light when you feel your best.
- What’s the weather look like? Don’t let a few clouds discourage you! Not only do you not have to worry about squinting your eyes in the sun, but the subdued light can create some awesome images.
I'll be honest, I think there is a magical glow in the golden hour. But that's not to say you can't get great shots during other times of the day. Overcast and cloudy days may seem gloomy but can also yield great pictures. The same goes for shady spots in the middle of the afternoon.
So, is the golden hour a myth? Yes and no!